8 nuclear abolition activists arrested at Nevada test site on Good Friday 

photo by Theo Kayser

from Nevada Desert Experience

On Good Friday, April 7, participants in the Nevada Desert Experience’s Sacred Peace Walk engaged the Department of Energy and Nye County Sheriff’s department in dialogue and civil resistance at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly the Nevada Test Site). Eight peace walkers, calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons, were arrested, cited for trespass and released at the NNSS: Jacques Linder, Philadelphia, PA; Richard Bishop, Missoula, MT; Sylver Pondolfino, Staten Island, NY; Tessa Epstein, Salt Lake City, UT; Mark Babson, Salem, OR; George Killingsworth, Berkeley, CA; Theo Kayser, St. Louis, MO; and Catherine Hourcade, Stockton, CA. They have the option of paying a $620 fine or appearing in Justice Court in Beatty, Nevada to contest the charge.

Mark Babson said, “I felt the arresting officers were listening to us. It is so vital we continue this work because we have the ability to make a significant choice that will effect the survival of our species and that of other living beings.”

John Amidon & Brian Terrell, photo by Casey Carter

On Monday, April 10, two of the peace walkers – John Amidon of Albany, New York and Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa – who had been similarly arrested and charged with trespass at the NNSS in October, appeared in Beatty Justice Court for a pre-trial hearing. Both pleaded not guilty as they had permission and land use permits from the Western Shoshone National Council. Judge Gus Sullivan refused to rule on motions that they filed. He would not co-join their cases and denied their request for a trial by jury, in violation of Nevada law. Two separate bench trials are presently scheduled for July 10.

The NNSS was established by the U.S. on land stolen from the Western Shoshone nation, and was the primary testing location for American nuclear devices from 1951 to 1992. Nine hundred and twenty-eight announced nuclear tests occurred there, making it the most bombed place on earth. Today it continues as the site of “subcritical” nuclear tests and other research for new nuclear bombs and the “life extension” of old ones.

Men who were arrested in the “pen” – photo by Theo Kayser

Nevada Desert Experience photo