Tuesday, Aug. 10, 1999
march to the Lab
Several hundred demonstrators organized by Peace Action -- an activist group based in Washington, D.C. -- marched from
Ashley Pond in the town site to the Laboratory's main technical area Monday to express their opinion about nuclear weapons
and weapons-related activities. The march coincided with the 54th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. In
news releases issued by the group, Peace Action stated that the purpose of their demonstration was to protest the planned
manufacture of plutonium pits for the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile at Los Alamos. The Lab's limited manufacturing role is
scheduled to begin with an initial stockpile unit by late 2002 and up to 20 pits a year by 2007.
In addition to chanting slogans and waving banners, several members of the group came to the Lab to engage in nonviolent
civil disobedience. The group had been granted permission to gather for a limited period of time in the parking lot east of
the Otowi Building, but group organizers were warned that any members of the group who exited the pre-assigned gathering area
could face arrest on trespassing charges.
Actor and activist Martin Sheen, photo at left, was the first to be taken into custody for crossing the boundary. Sheen
walked to the edge, stepped over quietly, knelt and recited the Lord's Prayer, and walked quietly toward the detention area
under escort by security officers from Protection Technology Los Alamos. More than 70 other demonstrators crossed the line
and were detained. They were taken back to Ashley Pond and released.
The marchers at times were vigorously outspoken, as illustrated by the photo below, which shows a member of the group
attempting to engage Gene Tucker, deputy director of the Lab's Safeguards and Security (S) Division, into a debate on the
value of work at Los Alamos.