ST. MARYS, Ga. – Seven members of a group called Kings Bay Plowshares were arrested Thursday after they slipped onto the Kings Bay Submarine Base and vandalized some signs, according to a base spokesman.
A news release on the Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook page said the seven Catholic activists got onto the St. Marys base Wednesday night, carrying hammers and "baby bottles of their own blood."
The base's gates are staffed with security at all times, so it’s uncertain how the protesters gained access to the base, but Kings Bay public affairs office spokesman Scott Bassett said no personnel or facilities were ever threatened.
It's possible the seven activists were there for hours before they were caught, and Bassett confirmed security measures at the base are being reviewed.
"I believe they walked on," Plowshares supporter Jessica Stewart said. "They went through a fence and walked on. Surprisingly, considering it’s a nuclear installation, I don’t think it was difficult for them to gain access."
The group, which is opposed to nuclear weapons and advocates active resistance to war, tried to "convert weapons of mass destruction," the release said.
"They were seeking through their actions to disarm those weapons symbolically and move us toward a world where we have economic justice, where racism has been dismantled and where we can live in peace," Stewart said. "I don’t think they feel they were breaking the law. I think they feel they were following international law, which calls on citizens to prevent unjust war and the proliferation of nuclear weapons and crimes against humanity."
King's Bay is the Navy's Atlantic Ocean Trident port with six ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs.
The activists said they chose to enter the base on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The group's Facebook post said the men and women divided up and went to the administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers with crime scene tape, hammers and banners reading:
- "The ultimate logic of racism is genocide" -- Dr. Martin Luther King (Jr.)
- "The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide"
- "Nuclear weapons: illegal -- immoral."
ACTIVISTS' PHOTOS: 'Plowshares' protest, vandalism at Kings Bay
The activists, who are being held without bond in the Camden County Jail on charges of trespassing and defacing government property, are:
- Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca, New York
- Martha Hennessey, 62, Perkinsville, Vermont
- Carmen Trotta, 55, New York City
- Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Baltimore
- Patrick O’Neil, 61, Garner, North Carolina
- Mark Corville, 55, New Haven, Connecticut
- Stephen Kelly, 69, Los Gatos, California
The seven will appear Friday morning at a bond hearing.