Forty-two demonstrators arrested during Livermore Lab protest

The “Designing Armageddon at Livermore Lab” rally marked the 74th anniversary of the U.S. bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by Toni McAllister

August 6, 2019

LIVERMORE, CA — A protest at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Tuesday to remember the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 74 years ago this week resulted in 42 arrests, according to a company spokesperson.

Those arrested were blocking LLNL’s West Gate, said Lynda Seaver, LLNC’s director of public affairs.

Just over 100 people turned out for the annual rally organized by Livermore-based Tri-Valley Cares. Dubbed the “Designing Armageddon at Livermore Lab” peace rally, the event began at 8 a.m. and was followed by a march to the Lab’s West Gate, where a Japanese bon dance called in “the ancestors and the outlining of bodies on pavement [to] commemorate the vaporized shadows found after the atomic bombings,” a Tri-Valley Cares press release said.

Tri-Valley Cares executive director Marylia Kelley confirmed Tuesday’s arrests, although her group counted 43. The event was over by around 11:30 a.m., she said.

Those arrested were cited and released, according to Seaver.

The denunciation and worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons was the theme of Tuesday’s rally that marked Hiroshima Day, and Tri-Valley Cares warned arrests were possible.

“It is imperative to gather at Livermore Lab on the date a nuclear weapon was first used in war to stop the creation of new warheads proposed by President Trump,” the Tri-Valley Cares press release continued.

Seaver characterized the annual event as peaceful and “fairly low-key,” with singing, dancing and a few speeches.

The lineup of speakers for this year’s event included, among others, Nobuaki Hanaoka, who was an infant in Nagasaki when the bomb fell there on August 9, 1945. He lost immediate family members and now speaks on peace and human rights.

Daniel Ellsberg, an activist best known for his release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and author of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” was the rally’s keynote speaker.