Twenty peace activists from around the United States were arrested as a result of their nonviolent protest against nuclear weapons at a U.S. Naval base.
Members of the Pacific Life Community gathered at the Main Gate to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor early Monday morning in resistance to the continued deployment of the Trident nuclear weapons system and the associated threat of use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. government.
The Bangor Trident base is home port to eight of the nation’s 14 Ohio class nuclear ballistic missile submarines and also home to the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific, where the Navy stores thermonuclear warheads for deployment on its submarines. Bangor represents the largest operational concentration of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal.
While maintaining a peaceful vigil along the roadway, six of the resisters entered the roadway with a banner, which they stretched across the entrance lanes in symbolic closure of the base. The banner quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “When scientific power outruns spiritual power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.” The protesters also knelt in prayer.
Washington State Patrol officers ordered the protesters to leave the roadway. All six protesters complied with the officers and were escorted to the median where they were briefly detained and issued citations for “Walking on roadway where prohibited.”
Meanwhile, another fourteen protesters walked onto the roadway carrying banners and signs calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. All crossed the blue line onto the base and knelt in prayer. Naval security personnel arrested the protesters and drove them to a facility on the base for processing. They were cited under Section 1382 of Title 18 prohibiting trespassing on military bases, and released a short time later.
The resisters carried a letter addressed to the Bangor base commander. It stated that the “Trident II D-5 missiles with their W76 or W88 [thermonuclear] warheads are illegal under international law and hence are also illegal per the Constitution of the United States.” Naval security personnel declined to accept the letters.