Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 by the Brattleboro Reformer (Vermont)
Yankee Protesters Arrested
by Cate Lecuyer
BRATTLEBORO - Eleven people were arrested Monday after making it inside the Vermont Yankee headquarters on Old Ferry Road.
In the vestibule of the building, protesters banged on the locked door for about five minutes, and tried to use the intercom to be let in, before they were arrested for trespassing by the Brattleboro Police Department.
More than 200 people crowded the parking lot outside the Entergy Nuclear offices -- almost four times as many people as in the past. This was the third organized protest in three months. Organizers vow to continue the monthly protests to draw attention to their opposition to the proposed power boost at the nuclear plant.
Entergy is seeking a 20-year extension of its license beyond 2012 and for a concurrent power boost of 20 percent. The nuclear facility has been operating since 1972.
Arrested Monday were Mary Alice Herbert of Putney, Jane Newton of South Londonderry, Sylvia Pigors of Putney, Christopher Williams of Hancock, Eesha Williams of Dummerston, Teresa Caldwell of Shelburne, Mass., David Detmold of Turners Falls, Mass., Jacquie Dauphinais of Florence, Mass., Cory Mathews of Greenfield, Mass., Harvey Schaktman of Shelburne Falls, Mass., and Eric Wasileski of Erving, Mass.
They were issued a citation and released, pending a Feb. 21 court date in Windham District Court.
Deb Katz, executive director of the Citizens Awareness Network, which helped organize the demonstration, said it was not only a call for action, but a tribute to a leader in nonviolent action, whose birthday was celebrated Monday.
"Martin Luther King [Jr.] advocated civil disobedience and that's what took place today," Katz said. "It was a real validation and respect for what King stood for."
Fewer police were present than at previous staged protests, in part, because Chief John Martin did not call in off-duty officers as he had in the past. Martin said he is frustrated by the continuing protests because it draws the department's manpower away from other important townwide policing activities.
On Monday, some of the arresting officers were late in responding to a 911 hangup call, Martin said, possibly jeopardizing the welfare of other residents. The 911 call turned out not to be serious, but there is no way to know that at the time, Martin said.
"All our resources are in one place," he said. "You don't send two officers into a crowd of 100, or to arrest 11 people even," he said.
Martin hopes having fewer police at future protests will make them less effective.
"Part of what we're trying to do is discourage the forum that's causing everyone to protest," said Martin. "Hopefully not getting that forum will reduce the number and frequency of the protests."
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