Kansas City, Mo. — Three protesters were arrested Friday outside of a Kansas City nuclear weapons parts facility for trespassing on private property. The three men were part of a larger demonstration protesting the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new facility.
"They crossed [onto private property] not to dip into despair, because despair just eats the soul," Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks, a peace activist group, told NCR. "They crossed to defy what our government is doing."
Members of PeaceWorks Kansas City and other protesters, including workers from the old nuclear weapons facility at the Bannister Federal Complex, met at 9 a.m. at the entrance of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Kansas City Plant. The protestors held their own ceremony, which they called a "Dead-ication to Death" rally.
At 9:15 a.m., more than 30 protesters gathered to listen to or deliver speeches calling for peace from the U.S. government and for an end to nuclear weapon creation. They also marched a black coffin on the campus' public walkway, representing a funeral for those who died from working at the old nuclear parts plant and for the potential deaths that could come as a result of nuclear warfare.
Several police officers monitored the protest. Stoever's husband, Henry Stoever, chairman of the board at PeaceWorks, was joined by Mark Bartholomew, a Catholic Worker house employee, and Jim Hannah, a Community of Christ minister. The three held hands as they walked onto the property without permission.
Within seconds, a police officer asked them twice to leave. The three protesters refused. They were taken into custody soon after, ending the protest.
According to a press release from PeaceWorks, the new facility cost approximately $673 million to build and will produce about 80 percent of the nation's nuclear weapons parts. Since 2010, the year of the groundbreaking, about 115 peace activists have been arrested opposing the new and former weapons plants.
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