LIVERMORE, Calif. – Over 1,200 demonstrators from many organizations gathered near Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Aug. 10 to demand the Bush administration end plans to develop new nuclear weapons and fulfill its obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to eliminate U.S. nuclear arms.

Speakers warned of the grave danger posed by the Bush administration’s drive to upgrade U.S. nuclear arms, including adding a giant nuclear “bunker buster” and so-called mini-nukes, and resuming nuclear testing.

Calling nuclear arms “the only true weapons of mass destruction,” David Seaborg said all higher life on earth would be destroyed in two days if just 10 percent of the world’s current nuclear arsenal were detonated. Seaborg, son of nuclear physicist Glen Seaborg, warned that George W. Bush is “taking us completely in the wrong direction.” He added that the top priority should be to remove Bush from office and eliminate nuclear arms from the earth.

The Bush administration is “the most dangerous regime ever assembled in America,” and must be defeated in 2004, declared Damu Smith, co-chair of Black Voices for Peace. Smith emphasized that building a new world of peace and justice requires a multiracial, multigenerational movement bringing all communities together.

Marylia Kelley, executive director of Tri-Valley Communities against a Radioactive Environment, described Livermore Lab’s efforts to create a “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator,” a giant nuclear bunker-buster. Kelley warned that major decisions on nuclear weapons issues, including resumption of testing at the Nevada Test Site, are likely to be made in September.

While emphasis was against nuclear weapons, protesters also voiced their opposition to the U.S. war against Iraq and their concern over threats to civil rights and civil liberties.

Among other participants were emcee Miguel Molina of radio station KPFA, Jacqueline Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation, antiwar organizer Brian Wilson, William Rivers Pitt of truthout.org, Native American peace activists Ian Zabarte and William Underbaggage, and David Cline, national president of Veterans for Peace.

Other observances of the 58th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki included protests at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Nevada Test Site near Las Vegas.

The author can be reached at cpusainternat@mindspring.com

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