Eighteen anti-nuclear protesters, including two Sisters of Mercy and one demonstrator in a wheel chair, were arrested yesterday at the Seabrook nuclear power construction site.
The demonstrators were members of the Clamshell Alliance, which staged a nonviolent protest in 1977 which resulted in the arrest of 1414 people.
Six protesters were arrested after they climbed a crane and placed a "no nukes" sign on top. Construction workers were unable to talk the demonstrators down, and the state police were called into arrest them.
Six more protesters were arrested on the access road leading to the construction site, and a third group chained themselves to a sign just outside the site.
The twelve demonstrators, arrested on land owned by the Public Service Company (PSC), which is building the plant, were charged with criminal tresspass, which can bring a penalty of up to one year in prison and/or a $1000 fine. They may also be charged with contempt of court, since a court injunction against trespassing on PSC land, which was issued in June, is still in effect.
The contempt charge carries a penalty of up to six months in jail.
The six protesters who stayed outside the construction site were charged with disorderly conduct, which can also bring a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine.
Judge Alfred Cassasa of the Hampton District Court set bail at $100 for first offenders, and $200 for protesters with a record of arrests.
Only three people posted bail and were released.
Miles Ehrlich, a New Hampshire Clamshell Alliance spokesman, said the other protestors decided to exhibit "bond solidarity" as a protest against the "classist nature of the bail system, which doesn't take into account differing abilities to pay."
Yesterday was the first day of construction at the Seabrook site since July 21, when the Nuclear Regulator Commission (NRC) halted construction pending a hearing on the plant's cooling system. The NRC lifted the construction ban last Thursday, after the Environmental Protection Agency approved the cooling system.
A spokesman for the Boston Clamshell said yesterday many small-scale nonviolent civil disobedience actions to protest the Seabrook plant have been planned the near future.
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