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Bainbridge man among those cited for anti-nuke protest at Navy base
More than a dozen peace activists, including one from Bainbridge Island, were issued citations by the Washington State Patrol after blocking traffic Monday at Naval Base Kitsap.
Leonard Eiger, spokesman for the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, said demonstrators held an early morning vigil on Aug. 6, the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, at the main gate to the base that's home to the Navy's nuclear-armed fleet of Trident submarines on the West Coast.
Eiger said peace activists lined the road with anti-nuke signs, banners and an inflatable mockup of a Trident II ballistic missile.
Groups of demonstrators — holding banners with messages such as “Abolish Nuclear Weapons” and “Give Peace a Chance. No, Seriously.” — then took turns walking into the roadway to block traffic heading into the Navy base at about 7 a.m.
The protestors were taken out of the roadway by the State Patrol, cited for “walking on roadway where prohibited” and released.
Eiger said 16 people were involved in the blockade, and all were issued citations.
Those cited included Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., who gained national fame as an anti-war activist after her son, Army Spec. Casey Sheehan, died in the Iraq War.
Others who received citations were Gilberto Z. Perez, Bainbridge Island; Tom Rogers, Poulsbo; Constance Mears, Poulsbo; Mack Johnson, Silverdale; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend; George W. Rodkey, Tacoma; Elizabeth Murray, Bellingham; Michael Siptroth, Belfair; Bernie Meyer, Olympia; Marion Ward, Vancouver, Wash.; Eiger, North Bend; Mal Chaddock, Portland, Ore.; Gordon Sturrock, Eugene, Ore; and Ann Havill and Betsy Lamb, both of Bend, Ore.
Eiger said Monday’s vigil, blockade and leafletting at the base were the culmination of a weekend of events at Ground Zero Center that marked the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and celebrated 35 years of Ground Zero’s resistance to the Trident nuclear weapons system.
The weekend included nonviolence training, letter writing to elected officials, a vigil at the Kitsap Mall and a screening of the documentary “In My Lifetime,” a film intended to help people understand the realities of nuclear weapons.
Participants in the 2012 Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free Future, which began in Portland, Ore. on July 22, also arrived at Ground Zero on Saturday to participate in the weekend’s activities. The walk was organized by Buddhist monks from Bainbridge Island and carried a message of hope for peace and a nuclear-free world.