Nonviolent Protest Continues Against Alliant Techsystems
By Steve Clemens
August 6th marked the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan. To remember those who died and those who continue to suffer the effects of radioactive poisoning from those two bombs and to remind us about current victims of uranium weapons, the Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams organized a peace witness at the headquarters of the largest manufacturer of depleted uranium weapons in the U.S. – Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in Edina. About 40 people, many dressed in black clothing and carrying white roses to represent healing and remembrance for those who have suffered from nuclear weapons and DU participated in singing and calling out victims of depleted uranium weapons made by this company.
Vigilers held signs that read "Hiroshima: Never Again," and passed their white roses to others bearing signs representing victims of DU – Iraqi civilians, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, children, Afghanis, etc. As the crowd sang out the words, "None can stop the Spirit, burning now inside us. We will shape the future. We will not be silent," eight participants carried their white roses up the driveway towards the front door of ATK, hoping to deliver their message of peace to corporate executives. When stopped by several ATK employees and Edina police, the eight attempted to engage them in dialogue. After police warned the group to leave or they would be arrested, the eight then knelt down in prayer and were arrested. They were Tarek Abuata (Bethesda, MD), Sally Ann Brickner (Green Bay, WI), Kryss Chupp (Chicago, IL), Steve Clemens (Minneapolis, MN), Delycia Fuestel (Lebanon, NH), Cliff Kindy (N. Manchester, IN), Martin Smedjeback (Sundbyberg, Sweden), and Colin Stuart (Ottawa, ON).
One week prior to the August 6th action, nine members of the AlliantAction Vigil Group – each owners of a share of ATK stock were arrested for attempting to attend the Annual ATK Stockholders Meeting for which they had all received invitations! When they tried to enter, they were told that because they had been previously arrested for trespass, they could not enter –even though they carried the invitations with them. Some who left after being challenged, went back up the driveway to be arrested in solidarity with those already under arrest. At least one Vets for Peace Member, Dr. David Harris as well as several associate members were part of the arrest group.
It has been reported in the local Edina Sun-Current that Alliant Techsystems is moving its headquarters next Spring to a site in Eden Prairie. The article states: “A relocation to its own building would give the company an opportunity to fortify its property with such protests in mind.” Principled nonviolence is always a threat to those who wish to hide behind trespass and private property laws to continue their illegal and immoral activities.