THE CLAMSHELL ALLIANCE, an organization opposed to the use of nuclear power, deserves high praise for its role in sponsoring and coordinating last weekend's occupation of the site of the proposed Seabrook, N.H. nuclear power plant. The incident-free demonstration provided an exemplary display of civil disobedience, as both the occupation and the march to the site remained orderly throughout the weekend. On the negative side however, the Seabrook protest underscored many of the problems encountered by involved citizens who attempt to express a specific grievance these days: excessive bureaucratic red tape that must be waded through to stage a demonstration of any size, broken promises made by the responsible authorities, and even outright deception.
The state government had obtained a court injunction early last week that ruled the 40-acre building area off-limits to demonstrators; as compensation, Gov. Meldrim Thomson vowed last week that no demonstrators would be arrested as long as they remained outside of the restricted portion of the site. Yet observance of these stipulations did not protect the "anti-nuke" protesters from eventual arrest on Sunday afternoon. As a handful of Harvard undergraduates sit at this moment in a Manchester, N.H. armory for their participation in the occupation, our thoughts remain with them and their fellow prisoners, and we urge the Clamshell Alliance to press on in its fight to halt the construction of nuclear power plants where they endanger human life or the environment.