Non-violent and Peaceful Protesters

Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant civil disobedience

Early in my career I was lucky enough to participate as one of many attorneys representing Clamshell Alliance activists committing civil disobedience at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant construction site.  In May, 1977 over 2,000 protestors camped out and occupied the site, and 1,414 were arrested.  We helped prepare protesters for the likelihood that they would be arrested and incarcerated, wrote a pro-se handbook, and supported them during their incarceration and trials.

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Vermont Yankee Direct Action

More recently I worked with Massachusetts and Vermont attorneys representing Safe and Green Energy Alliance (SAGE Alliance) protesters who were arrested at the Vermont Yankee Entergy site in Vernon, VT.  In addition to the dangers of nuclear power and the storing of spent fuel rods, protestors cited to numerous safety hazards at the plant.  Refusing to leave Vermont Entergy’s headquarters, they were peacefully arrested. In September, 2013 Vermont Entergy announced that it would be closing Vermont Yankee at the end of 2014.

 

Preparing for civil disobedience

Prior to taking part in a direct action and civil disobedience, you and other protestors will participate in significant planning and logistics. You will contact lawyers to assist in educating future arrestees and support persons regarding the law, the police, and what to expect from the court system. Often, you will want lawyers to be present during the arrests, accompany arrestees to booking locations, and represent persons who have been arrested. Some protestors decide to represent themselves, but are still interested in the preparation work performed by lawyers supporting the action. Lawyers play a secondary role, as it is the persons who are being arrested and members of their support groups who decide how the protest will proceed. Under all circumstances the protest should be peaceful and non-violent.

 

  Resources