N.Y. activists protest nuclear arms, plants on Hiroshima anniversary

Kyodo

Dozens of protesters gathered Monday at Rockefeller Center to call for the elimination of nuclear weapons, on the 67th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group in New York marched in Manhattan, then staged a “melt-in” in front of General Electric Co.’s headquarters.

The protesters wore all black and fell to the ground in sync, symbolizing the instant death of thousands of people when the world’s first nuclear attack occurred, targeting Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

“When the bombs fell in Japan . . . (people’s) shadows were blasted onto buildings,” activist and organizer Russell Lum said. “We want to leave our shadows on the ground.”

Participants connected the nuclear weapons and nuclear power industries, claiming both lead to “radioactive horrors.”

GE was targeted because it manufactured the reactors that suffered meltdowns at the poorly protected Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in the hours after the March 2011 quake and tsunami.

“I came here today to voice my objection to GE, namely, and the nuclear weapons they have been making for years,” participant Ann Eagan said at the protest.

The New Yorker added she hopes a U.S. politician will have the “guts” to stand up for ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

The group also criticized GE and its partner Hitachi Ltd. for planning a new uranium enrichment facility in North Carolina.

“The world is in an antinuclear moment right now,” Lum said, adding Monday’s protest captures and amplifies such sentiment.

Activists staged protests in other areas of the United States, including outside the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where a handful were arrested.

The Los Alamos County poliice chief, Wayne Torpy, said six protesters were arrested after trying to block traffic near a lab entrance. The laboratory was involved in the top secret Manhattan Project.

According to organizers, protesters in San Francisco gathered in front of the Japanese Consulate, wearing hazmat suits, under the theme of “shutdown, not meltdown,” in unity with those putting forward the message of abolishing nuclear weapons and energy.