HOLY WEEK ACTIONS
(Thanks to Bob Smith for this account)
A Good Friday event at Lockheed Martin's Valley Forge, Pennsylvania headquarters adapted traditional Catholic liturgy to a Stations of Justice & Peace, following a banner along the main road in front of Lockheed Martin declaring "LOCKHEED MARTIN - WARFARE to WELFARE - CHRIST CRUCIFIED".
Protesters placed a cross bearing a Lockheed Martin logo at eleven stations, each representing a "casualty of the war economy". As a large bell tolled at the 12th Station - "Jesus dies on the cross" - lightning struck in the parking lot of the nearby Shopping Mall, thunder began crashing, and a torrential downpour began that included golf ball size hail.
The group walked through the rain up the newly constructed access road that leads to the driveway where people engaging in civil disobedience had planned to conclude the Stations and to block the entranceway with CRIME SCENE - DO NOT CROSS tape. However, as soon as people reached the driveway, arrests began without warning, clearly due to the rain.
Sixteen people were arrested and released a short time later on citation. For more information, contact Brandywine Peace Community, P.O. Box 81, Swarthmore, PA 19081; (610)544-1818; email@example.com
About 200 people took part in the annual Good Friday nonviolent direct action at the Livermore nuclear weapons lab in California. A liturgical dance at a main gate concluded the morning procession. Then the entrance was closed for about an hour as police arrested a total of 53 people who knelt in front of the lab entrance as employees arrived for work. They were all booked at the lab for obstruction, and released. Prosecution is unlikely.
Among the voices heard reading Biblical scripture at the demonstration was that of Andreas Toupadakis, a former Livermore scientist who had hired on for civilian work, then quit last January rather than accept an assignment of weapons work.
For more information, contact the Ecumenical Peace Institute, (510)548-4141.
- Nevada Test Site
by Charlie Hilfenhaus, Alliance of Atomic Veterans
Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) climaxed their nineteenth Lenten Desert Experience on Good Friday, April 14, with a traditional Stations of the Cross ceremony followed by civil disobedience at the Test Site's Mercury gate. Twelve protesters were arrested for trespass. They were all cited and released at the site. "Good Friday is the traditional time for Christian peace activists to engage in acts of protest and witness," stated brother David Buer,ofm. "Just as Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice for all of us we remember him and offer ourselves in voluntary sacrifice to call for an end to the nuclear madness."
This was the termination of NDE's Holy Week Peace Walk; nine of the walkers had walked the entire 65 miles from Las Vegas. They were joined at the Test Site by 24 members of the Japanese anti-nuclear group Gensuikin, including two Hibakusha, who were on their way to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York.
Western Shoshone spiritual leader Corbin Harney greeted and blessed both groups in their struggles for the earth and against nuclear madness.
For more information, contact the Nevada Desert Experience, POB 46645, Las Vegas, NV 89114 (702)646-4814; firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at www.NevadaDesertExperience.org
- Rep. Picket's Office
In the intensifying campaign to end the economic sanctions against Iraq, three people engaged in a sit-in at the Virginia Beach office of Rep. Owen Picket (D-VA), last Holy Thursday, April 20. Liz Neutz, Patrice Schwermer and Teresa Stanley, all friends of the Norfolk Catholic Worker, were arrested and released with trespass charges. In court on June 14, the three were convicted of trespass and fined $250, $175 suspended.
For more information, contact the Norfolk Catholic Worker, 1321 W. 38th St., Norfolk, VA 23508; (757)423-5420.
- Washington, DC
The Atlantic Life Community's Holy Week gathering in Washington, D.C., began before the IMF/World Bank demonstrators were released from jail. Attendance was smaller than usual due to the choice some had to make about which days to spend in the city. Liz McAlister wrote, "We did try to bridge the two events but it became clearer in the evaluation that bridge building takes longer than leaping between the banks and it felt like we did more leaping. We could do nothing else. We could neither ignore the people in jail and outside the jail nor the commitment to be at the Pentagon and White House and the commitment to try to build a sense of community together in the space and time allotted."
At the Pentagon on Good Friday, during a Stations of the Cross liturgy near the River entrance, three people poured blood on a wall at the end of parade ground, but their charges were later dismissed. The next day the retreat concluded at the White House, where the seasonal liturgy was completed in the tourist zone just before police would have arrested the retreatants for not moving along.
For more information, contact Jonah House, 1301 Moreland, Baltimore,
MD 21216; (410)233-4067; email@example.com