Once again, a simple tally of the previous year's anti-nuclear arrests proves to be not so simple.
We began compiling this chart in 1983, seven years before we expanded our reporting to also include coverage of North American anti-war arrests, and some time more before we were able to provide current news from overseas. For this reason, to provide a meaningful comparison, we limit the tally to only arrests for anti-nuclear actions in the U.S. and Canada.
Missing from the tallies are thousands of anti-war arrests.
| NUCLEAR RESISTANCE ARRESTS,
U.S. AND CANADA, 1983-2000
year # of arrests # of sites # of actions
2000 813 28 49
1999 730 22 46
1998 655 25 48
1997 910 32 59
1996 590 25 48
1995 990 34 77
1994 910 41 73
1993 1,000 37 80
1992 2,480 40 90
1991 2,550 32 65
1990 3,000 41 85
1989 5,530 75 150
1988 4,470 65 160
1987 5,300 70 180
1986 3,200 75 165
1985 3,300 120 170
1984 3,010 85 160
1983 5,300 60 140
Three issues dominated the anti-war arrests reported in the Nuclear Resister in the last year: the School of the Americas; Vieques; and the war of bombing and sanctions against Iraq. Over 2,100 people were issued ban and bar letters following arrest for trespass at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia on November 19. Another 1,400 people crossed the line but were not held for processing before departing the base.
In addition to well over 700 civil disobedience arrests on the island of Vieques during the year, at least 150 other Vieques-related arrests were reported in four states and the District of Columbia. Protests against the ongoing sanctions and bombing of Iraq also spread to four states plus the District of Columbia, resulting in at least 245 arrests in the United States alone.
In total, at least 1,225 anti-war arrests were reported in the U.S. and Canada in 2000, in addition to the thousands engaged in nonviolent resistance to the School of the Americas.
The largest anti-nuclear action of 2000 in North America occured moments into the new year at the Nevada Test Site, where 313 people were arrested after crossing the boundary line. A renewed nonviolent direct action campaign against the Trident nuclear force was highlighted in June by the "Silence Trident" action. Three cedar poles holding up part of the Project ELF submarine communication antenna in Wisconsin were felled, cutting off the doomsday signal for a day.
The response of the courts in the last year was varied and unpredictable, from six months in jail for simply holding a banner at an air force base open house, to the abrupt dismissal of charges and release from jail of the five Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares women, who hammered and poured blood on weapons at a Colorado air force base. Twice in 2000, Kitsap, Washington, county prosecutors again declined to prosecute people for blocking the road into the Trident nuclear sub base at Bangor. In Oregon and Minnesota, jurors acquitted anti-nuclear resisters after hearing arguments about international law and personal responsibility.
In the year 2000, the Nuclear Resister reported on the imprisonment of more than 150 men and women for anti-nuclear and anti-war actions around the world.
We encourage the use and republication of this information. O.K. to edit for space. We ask only that credit be given to the Nuclear Resister.
-Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors