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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Education & Student Activism
Students arrested for blocking UC nuclear labs
Six UC students and three community members were forcefully dragged from the UC Regents board meeting on Thursday by police after they informed the Regents that they would not allow the board to convene its DOE lab oversight committee, the Regents’ body in charge of UC’s nuclear weapons research, design, and manufacturing labs in Los Alamos, New Mexico and Livermore, California.
Beginning with the public comment period at the start of the Regents meeting the group which calls itself the Coalition to Demilitarize read a statement explaining why they believed it is imperative that business as usual at the labs be stopped. One student from UC Santa Barbara presented a project to the Regents being undertaken at her campus. “We’re trying to fold 10,000 paper cranes, one for every nuclear weapon in the US arsenal. A UC employee designed each of these. Each is made by the Regents,” she explained. “It’s really hard to fold 10,000 of these cranes [implying that the Regents 10,000 nuclear weapons is an astonishingly large number],” she said while dumping several bags of them – about 500 – on the floor. “We’d like your help in folding them,” she said to the Regents. None of the Regents accepted the invitation.
After the public comment the Regents began discussing university finance matters and plans related to scaling back the employee pension. When Chair of the Regents Gerald Parsky attempted to convene the DOE Lab Oversight Committee, the Regent committee responsible for the nuclear weapons labs at Los Alamos and Livermore the students began to clap and chant. Regent Noman Pattiz laughed at the protestors and mockced them by pretending that the clapping was in support of the UC nuclear weapons labs.
The Regents wasted little time in sneaking out of the room through the back. While they were leaving the protestors invited them to dialogue about their demands, but kept firm that they would not allow business as usual to continue. The protestors pointed out that new developments such as US threats of using nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea, the new US nuclear weapons program – called the Reliable Replacement Warhead, UC’s for-profit business partnership with the Bechtel Corporation, and the likely resumption of manufacturing of plutonium bomb pits at the Los Alamos Lab has created a crisis situation in which they feel it is their responsibility to do whatever they can to prevent the UC Regents from facilitating nuclear militarism.
None of the Regents or their staff took the protestors up on the offer to dialogue. Police officers and security then descended upon the protestors, pulling them apart, handcuffing them, and dragging them from the room one by one.