March 1, 1954: the U.S. tested “Castle Bravo,” the 15-megaton bomb—a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan–on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Bravo was just one of 67 nuclear tests done at Bikini and Enewetak atolls from 1946 to 1958. The people forced to leave the islands were awarded more than $2bn in personal injury and land damage claims by the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal, but the payments stopped after the compensation fund was exhausted. Those who left, and their descendants, still fear returning because of the threat of radiation. Experts say the environmental damage may never be fully reversed.
March 1, 2019: a small group of protestors, lined the street in front of the Hawaii State Capitol to remind everyone of that day and to call for an end to the nuclear arms race.
This Friday, as on the first working day of every month, at the state capitol from 11:30-noon, the group holds signs protesting the ever-increasing militarism of the United States, calling on this country and other nuclear powers to join with most of the world’s nations in supporting the UN Nuclear Ban. Their protest is punctuated by the wail of the sirens being tested at 11.45 a.m.
This month the vigil was an act of solidarity with people throughout the Pacific in observing Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Day.
The protest is also an act of solidarity with the Kings Bay Plowshares
, a small group of Catholic activists who entered the Kings Bay nuclear submarine base, in Georgia in early April 2018 for a nonviolent symbolic disarmament action. The base is homeport to six U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarines, each armed with 16 Trident II missiles. They now face the prospect of heavy prison sentences for calling for peace and pointing to the “illegality and immorality of Trident’s omnicidal nuclear weapons.”
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