Scores of anti-nuclear demonstrators, some of whom participated in the Great Peace March, were arrested Monday as they tried to keep workers from entering Energy Department headquarters in Washington and a nuclear test site in Nevada.
Several hundred protesters blocked entrances to the Department of Energy in Washington, and police said 140 were arrested. Most of those arrested, on a charge of "incommoding," or preventing people from using public areas, were released on $50 bond.
In Mercury, Nev., where the nation's nuclear weapons are tested, 59 protesters, including actor Martin Sheen, were reported arrested. The Nevada protesters were released on their own recognizance pending arraignments next month.
Work as Usual
About 100 protesters tried to block buses carrying workers, but work went on as usual, Energy Department spokesman Jim Boyer said. Jesse Cocks, a spokeswoman for the American Peace Test, which sponsored the protest, estimated the turnout at 200.
Sheen was arrested when he stepped across a cattle guard on the road leading to the test site gate.
The last major demonstration at the test site 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas was on Sept. 30, when about 500 physicians and anti-nuclear activists turned out to protest the continuation of the nation's testing program.
Balloons Carry Slogan
In Washington, yellow balloons emblazoned "Stop Testing Now" floated over the heads of the mostly young protesters as they listened to speeches before fanning out to the Energy Department building entrances at 7:30 a.m.
Department employees were finally able to begin entering the building about 10 a.m. The arrests were orderly. The protesters had designated groups to be arrested in advance, signed them up on rosters and provided lawyers to help them after they were taken into custody.
Participants in the Great Peace March, which began in California in March and ended in Washington Friday, hoped to bring an end to the nuclear arms race.