8 arrested in nuke protest at Lab

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

An anti-nuclear protest at Los Alamos National Laboratory Friday led to the arrest of six men and two women.

A national youth-led network working for nuclear abolition called “Think Outside the Bomb” began their five-hour event with a vigil at Ashley Pond.

The group of about 120 then filed onto the far-right traffic lane of Trinity Drive marching west toward LANL. As traffic bogged down, police arrived in patrol cars and provided an escort of sorts in front, behind and next to the marchers.

The agreement reached with authorities prior to the protest established that the protestors would not block traffic and would gather at a designated location near the LANL sign.

The group disrupted traffic on Trinity Drive, Diamond Drive and the intersection near the LANL sign before moving to an area in front of the CMRR access building.

The eight protestors arrested were charged with state misdemeanor trespassing after sitting on the ground with arms and hands locked together blocking the door of the building as rain slapped the sidewalk, protestors and police.

The eight volunteered to be arrested.

“Our intention was to draw a line to prevent LANL from upgrading to the new CMRR building and you can’t do that walking on the sidewalk,” said Jono Kinkade, spokesman for Think Outside the Bomb. “The fact that we’re pushing the boundaries and walking in the street is nothing compared to building nuclear weapons that decimate communities.”

Los Alamos police and members of the LANL security force spent several hours accommodating the protestors before making the arrests.

“We had two goals today – that no one was hurt and that no one was arrested,” said Mike Wismer, a LANL security official.

LANL spokesman Kevin Roark said every effort was made to accommodate the group and allow them to express their First Amendment rights.

In an e-mail to the media the protest organizers called on people to engage in “per formative movements of resistance designed to call attention to the ill effects of the nuclear industrial complex and the need for a shift in policy priorities led by affected communities that are demanding the protection of their land, air, water and public health.” Organizers invited concerned community members to engage in “non-violent civil disobedience” at Friday’s event.

Robert Chavez, 17, of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo said he has been involved in environmental issues since he was seven.

“I’m here because there’s a lot of stuff youth in the valley, especially Española, are unaware of and I’ve had trouble in getting their interest in this important issue.”

A number of older adults were among the mostly young group of protestors.

Sporting white, waist-length dreadlocks, George Pax Martin of Santa Fe and Milwaukee said, “We’re here to support the youth leadership of Think Outside the Bomb.”

The eight people arrested were released on their own recognizance by the Los Alamos police and will be summonsed to appear in Magistrate Court.