Aug 10, 2012
By T.S. Last
From the Journal North
The six people arrested earlier this week while demonstrating at the entrance to Los Alamos National Laboratory pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing in municipal court in Los Alamos on Thursday.
Each are facing misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, obstructing a right of way and disobeying an officer.
The arrests took place Monday morning on the 67th anniversary of the first use of an atomic bomb, dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II. Research and development of the bomb was conducted at LANL in the 1940s and the lab remains a hub for the U.S.’s nuclear weapons program.
In a planned demonstration Monday morning, a group of about 35 demonstrators gathered near the entrance to LANL. Shortly before 8 a.m. the group stepped into the roadway, blocking vehicle access to the lab. After Los Alamos police gave the protesters two warnings that they would be arrested if they did not clear the roadway, all but the six stepped aside.
Arrested were Benjamin Abbot, 29, Janet Greenwald, 66, and Barbara Grothus, 59, of Albuquerque; Pam Gilchrist, 73, and Cathie Sullivan, 73, of Santa Fe; and Catherine Euler, 48, of Tucson, Ariz.
According to Santa Fe attorney Jeff Haas, who represented the defendants at the arraignment, all six wore white clothing during the hearing as a symbol of peace.
“They wanted to send a message of peace and the idea that Los Alamos Labs should be converted to serve peaceful purposes,” he said. “The lab has the resources and ability to convert to clean energy and helping the planet, rather than making nuclear weapons.”
Haas said he entered a motion to excuse Judge Alan Kirk because Kirk is the former police chief in Los Alamos and Haas expected police officers to be called as witnesses, but the judge denied the motion.
If convicted, each of the six defendants are subject to a $500 fine or six months in jail.