Fukushima evacuees’ friend arrested, jailed at Hiroshima memorial

Speaker at the Go West Come West memorial, Hiroshima, August 6, 2018

UPDATE: August 17 – the jailed activist was released from custody today.

Among the many commemorative events all around the Peace Park in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6 was an evening memorial service for victims of both the Bomb and nuclear power by Go West, Come West. It is a civic association of evacuees from the March, 2011 Fukushima disaster and their supporters who are challenging the Japanese government’s response to the ongoing catastrophe affecting all of eastern Japan as inadequate and cruel.

This is their story about how police then arrested one of their members on trumped-up charges. [The headline of this post was corrected 8/15/18 to reflect that the jailed activist is a friend of Fukushima evacuees, and not herself an evacuee. The gender of the arrested person was also corrected from the error in the machine translation of this story.]

Emergency Statement on the Oppression at the Hands of the Local Police against the Fukushima Nuclear Evacuees’ August 6 Hiroshima Action.

Hiroshima Police Unlawfully Arrested a Citizen to Silence Evacuees Appealing about Ongoing Fukushima Disaster.

A Serious Threat to Human Right and Free Speech.

We demand that the Hiroshima police immediately release the arrested friend of the nuclear evacuees who participated in August 6 Hiroshima actions!

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Plowshares activist Turi Vaccaro jailed in Sicily

Turi Vaccaro hangs his Swords into Plows banner inside the MUOS base in Sicily, December 2, 2014. Photo by Fabio d’Alessandro

Fugitive Italian anti-war activist Turi Vaccaro has been arrested and imprisoned in Gela, Sicily, where he will serve an 11-month, 27-day sentence.

Acting on a warrant issued in November, 2017, DIGOS, the Italian special police, determined that the well-known practitioner of nonviolent direct action would attend this summer’s annual NO MUOS protest camp near Niscemi. MUOS is the acronym of a Pentagon satellite relay station critical to U.S. war making in the Middle East and Africa. The massive dish antennas and transmission towers are planted on land cleared from a beloved cork-oak forest preserve, and their ultra high frequency radiation bathes neighboring residents.

Police observed Vaccaro among hundreds of others on the big August 4 march, where some demonstrators tried to bring down a section of chain-link and barbed wire fence only to be rebuffed by police firing tear gas.

The next day, as protesters relaxed and broke their camp, police decided to execute the warrant for Vaccaro’s arrest and imprisonment on a criminal damage conviction from 2015. When Vaccaro again approached the fence, DIGOS agents shouted at him to stop. Police gave chase on foot as the notoriously barefoot activist scampered away down the rural lane. About fifty activists quickly mobilized a cordon to slow the police pursuit, and Vaccaro disappeared into the countryside. Hours later, police reported his arrest as he hid in thick vegetation less than a mile away.

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Arrests at nuclear sites mark 73rd anniversary of atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

photo by Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

from the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Activists honor Catholic archbishop, who was a prophetic voice for peace, on anniversary of atomic bombing

by Leonard Eiger

Silverdale, Washington: Activists blockaded the West Coast nuclear submarine base that would likely carry out a nuclear strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should President Donald Trump give the order.

Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate beginning on the evening of August 5th and continuing into the morning of August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Approximately sixty activists were present at the morning vigil, and twelve participated in a nonviolent direct action in which participants blockaded the base at the peak of the morning shift change by carrying a banner onto the roadway of the main entrance gate.

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Truth on Trial – Kings Bay Plowshares court report on August 2, 2018 hearing

Kings Bay Plowshares photo

by Bill Quigley, attorney

For four hours on Thursday, August 2, 2018, the Kings Bay Plowshares appeared before U.S. Magistrate Stan Baker in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia to argue that all charges against them be dropped.  The peace activists set out six reasons why the charges of conspiracy, trespass, and two counts of felony damage to property should be dismissed.  Fully detailed arguments are available at https://www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/

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Fill the Jails!

by Brian Terrell

[This reflection was offered by Brian Terrell on July 29, 2018 to Catholic Workers gathered at Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, celebrating the 85th anniversary of the founding of the movement.]

Fifty years ago, in 1968, a time when state violence was running rampant in foreign wars and in the streets of our cities and when the reckless arrogance of insane men with power brought the world to the precipice of destruction, Dorothy Day drew from the tradition of the Industrial Workers of the World and offered a solution to the peril of the age- ‘Fill the jails!’ ‘Social betterment,’ Gandhi said earlier, ‘never comes from parliaments, or pulpits, but from direct action in the streets, form the courts, jails and sometimes even the gallows.’

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Nuclear disarmament action at Germany’s Büchel air base, home to 20 U.S. nuclear bombs

on top of a nuclear bomb bunker

From Nukewatch

On Sunday, July 15th 2018, eighteen people from four different countries cut through fences to reclaim German Air Force Base Büchel, which hosts about 20 U.S. nuclear bombs. The activists are from the USA (7), Germany (6), The Netherlands (4) and England (1).

The peace activists cut through razor wire and some other fences and several made it to the runway; three activists walked to a nuclear weapons bunker, and climbed up to the top where they were undetected for an hour. All 18 were eventually found by soldiers, handed over to the civil police, ID checked, and released from the base after 4-½ hours.

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Reflections on the Fast for Nuclear Disarmament in Georgia

Banner held outside of the Trident nuclear submarine base, Kings Bay, GA. Photo by Beth Brockman.

Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament

by Kathy Kelly, June 19, 2018

In the state of Georgia’s Glynn County Detention Center, four activists await trial stemming from their nonviolent action, on April 4, 2018, at the Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay. In all, seven Catholic plowshares activists acted that day, aiming to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.” The Kings Bay is home port to six nuclear armed Trident ballistic missile submarines with the combined explosive power of over 9000 Hiroshima bombs. 

This week, five people have gathered for a fast and vigil, near the Naval Base, calling it “Hunger for Nuclear Disarmament.” 

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Jeju Island peace activist jailed for refusing to pay protest fine

Park Geun-gil, aka “Mangi”. Photo by Eunmi Pang

On June 4, Korean peace activist Park Geun-gil entered the Jeju Prison to serve time instead of paying a fine of 4.6 million KRW (around US$4,000). At the rate of 100,000 KRW/day, he will serve 46 days and should be released by July 20. [Update: He was released from jail on June 14 after an anonymous person paid his fines.] Park, who is known as Mangi, joined a demonstration in December, 2015, protesting police brutality the day before in the arrest of a human chain blocking construction of military housing for the long-resisted navy base at Gangjeong village. Mangi was convicted of obstructing justice and injuring a policeman, although it was Mangi’s finger that was fractured by twisting as he was arrested.  His conviction was upheld in July, 2017. To read more about the Peace Island of Jeju and the struggle against the new naval base there, visit savejejunow.org.

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Poor People’s Campaign Ties Struggles for Justice Together

In Boston, Vietnam veteran Dan Luker is arrested on May 29, 2018. Photo by Steve Pavey via medium.com

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival launched the day after Mother’s Day with rallies and nonviolent civil disobedience at more than 30 state capitals across the the United States. The Campaign revives the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign that challenged the fundamental and interconnected injustices of racism, poverty and war. To these triple evils, as King identified them, the 50th anniversary campaign has added ecological devastation as part of the common threat to humanity.

Activist and author David Swanson, arrested in Washington, D.C., identified it as “The first multi-issue coalition we’ve seen in years that properly takes on militarism rather than indulging the fantasy of a $1 trillion a year military coexisting with decent humanitarian and environmental policies.”

The organizing model for this, the first phase of the Campaign, is a series of six weekly rallies and civil disobedience actions, each highlighting facets of the Call.  Phase One will wind up on Saturday, June 23 with a “Global Day of Solidarity and Sending Forth Call to Action Mass Rally” in Washington, D.C.

After the first three weeks of action, chronicled below are reports of over 1,000 arrests reported from 24 states and the District of Columbia.* Each week some civil disobedience actions did not result in arrests. The largest number of arrests were reported during the May 14  action in Washington, D.C. when demonstrators occupied First Street outside the Capitol building and refused to leave. One hundred and forty-six people were cited and released.

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Five people arrested on Memorial Day at Kansas City nuclear weapons plant

Arrestees L-R: Sunny Jordan Hamrick, Lu Mountenay, Tom Fox, Brian Terrell and Henry Stoever. PeaceWorksKC photo

By Jane Stoever, Peaceworks KC

“Emotionally powerful.” That’s how Bennette Dibben, a PeaceWorks Board member, describes the rally, die-in, and civil resistance that PeaceWorks-KC sponsored May 28, Memorial Day, in Kansas City, MO.

By the end of the three-hour witness, five persons had crossed the property line at the new nuclear weapons plant. They were arrested, processed, and released on the spot. They will go to Municipal Court at a date still to be set. After his release, resister Brian Terrell, of Maloy, Iowa, told the crowd the charge was trespass, and he will plead not guilty, seeing his action as necessary to try to prevent a nuclear war. A leader of the national Community for Creative Non-Violence, he said that in court, “I will answer to these false charges!”

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