Skip to comments.Range of sentences given to Y-12 'Hiroshima Day' protesters
Posted on 08/09/2005 9:33:28 PM PDT by SmithL
OAK RIDGE - Protesters who briefly blocked the roadway next to the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant's main entrance on Hiroshima Day had their day in court on another nuclear anniversary - six decades after an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
"It's Nagasaki Day,'' demonstrator John E. Heid told Anderson County General Sessions Judge Ron Murch on Tuesday. "It's the 60th anniversary of the nuclear cloud that hangs over this community.''
Heid traveled from Luck, Wis., to join more than 1,000 other peace activists in the Oak Ridge demonstration Saturday.
Scheduled to coincide with Hiroshima Day, the Y-12 peace protest is organized each year by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. The _Y-12 plant now is refurbishing the country's nuclear arsenal.
Fifteen protesters who blocked Scarboro Road just north and south of the Bear Creek Road entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex were arrested Saturday.
Sentences meted out by Murch on Tuesday spanned the gamut from 15 days in jail for those with two or more prior offenses to $25 fines and suspended 30-day jail sentences for first-time offenders.
Eleven of the demonstrators had been jailed since their arrests and appeared in shackles Tuesday, wearing jail-issued jumpsuits and orange sneakers.
For the first time in years, two protesters waived their right to preliminary hearings and had their misdemeanor citations bound over to the Anderson County grand jury.
Cases against Pamela L. Beziat of Nashville and Oak Ridge resident Elizabeth A. Lentsch could ultimately wind up as jury trials in Anderson County Circuit Court.
Two other demonstrators had Sessions Court bench trials Tuesday and used their hearings to explain why they helped form the human blockade.
"I was in the road with legal privilege,'' said Shelley L. Wascom of Knoxville, executive director of the nonprofit Community Shares organization. Wascom said Y-12 work violates international treaties.
"What's happening at Y-12 is the greatest catastrophe that's going on in humanity,'' Berta B. Lambert of Cincinnati told the judge.
"You're able to violate an ordinarily enforceable law when trying to correct a greater wrong,'' Lambert said. "I'm doing what I can as a citizen to prevent a great crime.''
After finding both Lambert and Wascom guilty, Murch said: "Individuals have an absolute right to protest and march in a peaceful manner. I don't question at all your sincerity in your beliefs. I disagree that you have the right to block a roadway to prove your point.''
Such actions, Murch said, "jeopardize the safety of other individuals.''
Time to set off some fireworks I guess.
"Happy Nagasaki Day!" Thanks Harry!
Me, I'm protesting the rape and murder of 379,000 citizens of Nanking, the rape and mutilation of 80,000 Chinese women by the Japanese, the death of 18,000 American, English and Australian soldiers in the Bataan death march, the forced prostitution of thousands of Korean women as "comfort girls" by the Japanese and the various other biological "experimental" death camps run by the Japanese.
Not to mention Pearl Harbor. Not to mention the millions of American and Japanese lives saved by NOT having to invade Japan because of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Not to mention Hello Kitty.
Happy Nagasaki Day To Everyone!