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Wednesday, August 10, 2005  
"54 Arrested in Rally Marking Bombing"

By: Chris Metinko
Published In: Contra Costa Times

LIVERMORE - A peaceful protest recalling the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki ended with 54 arrests outside Lawrence Livermore Laboratory on Tuesday morning.

The march and rally drew nearly 100 protesters -- about half the number of those who attended a similar rally Saturday evening at the lab. That protest featured no arrests and was one of four nationally coordinated rallies held at major weapons labs or test sites and marked the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

Although Tuesday's marchers were peaceful, many of those arrested had failed to disperse when asked to by Alameda County Sheriff's deputies. David Schwoegler, a lab spokesman, said the protesters were arrested for allegedly blocking the lab's West Gate and they were cited. He said none of those arrested were from the Tri-Valley , but some were from as far away as Indiana.

Dr. Satoru Konishi, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II who is touring the United States, was invited by protest organizers to be the main speaker.

At the time of the bombing, Konishi was in a classroom and vividly recalled the sky changing colors and windows breaking around him.

"It was hell on Earth," Konishi recalled. "Humans were not humans anymore -- they were things," said Konishi, remembering horrible deformities caused by the bombing.

He recalled one individual on the streets of Hiroshima after the events begging for water. Konishi said the radiation had deformed the man, and he could not make out the man's mouth, nose or eyes anymore. It was at that moment, Konishi added, he lost his memory about everything else that happened after the bombing.

Konishi is the assistant general secretary of Nihon Hidankyo, an organization of survivors of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The rally was organized by the "Seeds of Change Coalition," which includes the Livermore Conversion Project, Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment and the Western States Legal Foundation.

Konishi told the crowd that no one should ever have to experience such a tragic event and that the bombing changed the world forever, adding that the atomic bomb was not a tool of humans, but rather a tool of the devil.

The bomb "was dropped on humanity," Konishi said. "Now, we must live with (the fear of) annihilation. (That fear) must be abolished."

After the speech, protesters marched to West Gate near Vasco Road and were arrested on suspicion of blocking an entrance. At the gates, Konishi made another plea to stop the further development of nuclear weapons, as demonstrators were being taken away.

Reach Chris Metinko at 925-847-2125 or

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