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by Luke Skywalker
Wednesday, Aug. 08, 2001 at 8:04 AM
As part of the ongoing campaign to stop Star Wars and the nuclear threat Greenpeace launch a series of direct actions.
STAR WARS PRESS CENTRE
6 August 2001 - Stop Star Wars Activists Blockade US Nuclear Bomber Base on Hiroshima Anniversary
Washington/London - Greenpeace activists blockaded an American nuclear bomber base in the Mediterranean today as part of their memorial to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and also to remember the Star Wars 17 who are facing federal charges in Los Angeles for a peaceful protest against the missile test at Vandenberg Airforce base on 14 July. (1)
Eleven protesters were arrested after they blocked the entrance to the only US nuclear bomber base in the country at Incirlik in Turkey. An Angel of Death draped in an American flag and an activist symbolically caged to prevent their voice being heard, re-enforced the Greenpeace messages "Stop Star Wars - Not Peaceful Protest and No More Hiroshima's". Independent journalists were removed from the scene by police.
Other actions took place across the world. In Greenland, shadows were drawn in the sea ice near the Thule radar base, a facility crucial to the development of the Star Wars programme. The shadows represented the death shadows of those vaporised when the bombs were dropped.
In Japan, 17 protesters, symbolising those awaiting trial in Los Angeles, demonstrated outside the American embassy in Tokyo. Later today two Hiroshima survivors will join Greenpeace protesters on board the SV Rainbow Warrior in Washington. Elsewhere, Greenpeace activists have been and will continue to demonstrate at US embassies in Canada, Spain, Sweden and Lebanon.
"The scars of the Hiroshima and Nagaski bombings will never fade. A further 50 years of nuclear weapons production has also taken its toll, not just upon communities around the world but also the environment," said Greenpeace International disarmament campaigner William Peden. "George Bush is shaming the memory of the victims with his ruthless pursuit of the Star Wars programme, which will bring about a new nuclear arms race. The victims of the nuclear holocaust in Japan hoped their nightmare would never be visited on anyone else. George Bush is riding rough shod over that hope." Peden added.
In Los Angeles, 15 Greenpeace activists and two independent journalists are still facing conspiracy charges following the delayed launch of the Star Wars missile test three weeks ago. They could serve up to six years in jail if found guilty. Representatives from the group attended a Hiroshima memorial in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles on Sunday.
In the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific, from where the "kill vehicle" used in US missile tests is launched, another Greenpeace activist who was arrested and threatened with deportation for peacefully bearing witness to the missile test on 14 July, has had the charges against him dropped, but will still have to leave the atoll.
"Our activists are being punished for voicing their opposition to Star Wars, and the journalists are suffering the same fate for simply documenting our protest as a matter of public interest. Today survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings asked us to keeping fighting for peace and a nuclear free future. We will continue to peacefully protest and speak out against the Star Wars programme until we can fulfil that wish." said Peden.
Sara Holden - Greenpeace International press officer in Los Angeles: +1 805 291 1749
Louise Edge - Greenpeace international press officer in Amsterdam: +31 653 504 731
William Peden - Greenpeace International disarmament campaigner in Los Angeles: +1 202 285 9130
Stills of the global actions are available Greenpeace Photo Desk: +31 205 249 580
NOTES TO EDITORS:
(1) The Star Wars 17 will be formally charged at a federal hearing in Los Angeles on 13 August, 2001. The pleas and date for trial will be set at that arraignment
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