Few demonstrations of the '70s are likely to rival the occupation of the site of the proposed Seabrook, N.H. nuclear power plant last weekend for sheer media appeal. Some 800 journalists obtained press passes for the occupation, but much of the national media was not present Sunday when New Hampshire state police began arresting the 1400-plus demonstrators (including about ten Harvard-affiliated participants) on criminal trespassing charges.
While a small minority of the arrested protesters posted the $100 bail required for release, most of the "anti-nuke" prisoners remained in various National Guard armories in New Hampshire through out the week, in accordance with the post-occupation plans of the Clamshell Alliance, the organization opposed to the use of nuclear power that sponsored the short-lived occupation.
A Hampton District Court began sentencing yesterday, slapping the initial group of eight demonstrators found guilty with a $100 fine and a 15-day jail sentence.
The Clamshell Alliances opposed the construction of nuclear power plants in New England on the grounds that the waste product plutonium presents serious waste disposal problems, and that the environment cannot afford to run the risk of a major nuclear power plant accident that would release large quantities of radiation into the atmosphere.
Incarcerated demonstrators said this week they have encountered unpleasant cell conditions at several of the armories where they are being detained. Lawyers representing the Clamshell group filed petitions with the U.S. District Court in Concord asking for the immediate release of all imprisoned demonstrators on the grounds that their civil rights have been violated--citing cramped living areas, inadequate rest room and eating facilities and insufficient medical attention.
Capt. Harry Masse of the Manchester, N.H. armory said yesterday that one case of measles had broken out among the 700 demonstrators held there, and he added that two pay phones, two rest room facilities and one shower accommodating 20 people have been made available to the prisoners.