Ten nuclear weapons abolition activists arrested at Bangor Trident base

photo by Karol Milner

by Mary Gleysteen, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Ten nuclear weapons abolition activists were removed from the roadway at 7 a.m. on August 7 by the Washington State Patrol after blocking the entrance to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, site of the world’s largest concentration of deployed nuclear  weapons. 

The civil disobedience followed a demonstration at the entrance to the Trident submarine base by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action,  which involved approximately 50 nuclear weapons abolitionists ranging in age from 16 to elders in their 80’s, and featured a flash dance in the roadway to the song, ”War: What is it Good For?”

Mourning the victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and detonated in the Marshall Islands following World War II, and holding banners reading, “Abolish Nuclear Weapons” and “The Use…and Possession of Nuclear Weapons is Immoral – Pope Francis,” Sue Ablao (Bremerton), Susan Delaney (Bothell), Deacon Denny Duffell (Seattle), Carolee Flaten (Hansville), Rev. Anne Hall and Dr. David Hall (Lopez Island), Mack Johnson (Silverdale), Sean Makarin (Port Orchard), Michael Siptroth (Belfair) and Caroline Wildflower (Port Townsend), refused to leave the roadway. They were apprehended by the Washington State Patrol, issued citations pursuant to RCW 46.61.250, Pedestrians on roadways, and released.

The Monday morning demonstration concluded a three day gathering – “Save the Planet – Abolish Nuclear Weapons” – sponsored by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition.

Weekend events included:

* Keynote by Veterans for Peace and Code Pink activist Ann Wright (Colonel, U.S. Army Retired), linking campaigns for environmental justice, anti-militarism and nuclear weapons abolition;
* Presentation by educators Rachel Hoffman and  Dr. Robin Narruhn and members of the Marshallese Women’s Association detailing the tragic and ongoing effects of detonation of 67 atomic bombs in the Marshall Islands during the years 1946-1958;
* Arrival of members of the 19th annual Pacific Northwest Peace Walk, which originated this year in Salem, Oregon and included walks through Portland, Tacoma and Seattle;
* Rally at the entrance to the Bangor base where representatives from a variety of communities called for spending on human needs and environmental care, the abolition of nuclear weapons, and an end to military aggression and expansion. 
* Memorial Service for the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, including the hanging of paper peace cranes on the fence separating the Ground Zero Center from the Trident nuclear submarine base and featuring a message from Seattle Archbishop Paul Etienne, currently on a pilgrimage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “God calls us to build a global community where the whole human family can flourish,” said Most Reverend Paul D. Etienne, Archbishop of Seattle. “Let us keep educating ourselves, praying for peace, and appealing for verifiable nuclear disarmament, which reflects our Catholic teachings and is the path for the common good.”;
* Publication of three paid, full page public service announcements in the Kitsap Sun commemorating the use of atomic weapons on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a plea to members of the military to refuse to launch nuclear weapons.

photo by Karol Milner

photo by Karol Milner