40 years ago in 1982, one million people marched and rallied in NYC demanding an end to nuclear weapons and nuclear war and 1700 people were arrested during acts of non-violent civil disobedience outside the UN missions of the 7 nuclear states. You can watch the one-hour webinar discussing that historic time here.
Some of those 1982 protesters, along with others, returned to stage the civil disobedience action outside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and participate in the various actions of this 2022 No Nukes protest. World Can’t Wait was one of the principal organizers of the day.
We selected this past Tuesday August 2 because it was the second day of the month-long United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. This week is also the anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the citizens of Hiroshima on August 7 and of Nagasaki on August 9. The risk of a repeat has seldom been closer than it is today.
Our demands were simple: No Nuclear War; No Nukes – for Life & for Planet. These words acted to call attention to the alarming possibility that the United States, Russia, or another nuclear-armed state actor could provoke by intention, or accident, a nuclear exchange.
After watching a performance by the Rising Together Guerrillla Theater and songs by Raging Grannies and Filthy Rotten System, some 120 protesters marched, holding signs, from the Isaiah Wall to the U.S. Mission led by Buddhist drumming and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. We were joined in vigil by Japanese survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, German students and some others here in NYC to attend the UN nuclear treaty review conference.
Holding center of the banner, wearing blue hat and shirt, is a Japanese hibakusha who was 9-months-old when the U.S. atomic bomb hit Hiroshima. Photo credit: Michaela Czerkies/Brooklyn For Peace
11 people were arrested blocking the doors to the U.S. Mission and charged with disorderly conduct.
Richie Marini of NYC World Can’t Wait was among those engaged in the non-violent direct action. Photo credit: Ellen Davidson
World Can’t Wait’s Stephanie Rugoff, who had been at the massive 1982 march and rally, explained, “The Doomsday Clock for the possibility of nuclear war is now at 100 seconds to midnight. Fueled by the US/NATO/Russia/Ukraine war, the use of nuclear weapons is being proposed as a contingency while life on our planet is threatened by climate and ecological catastrophe. I feel obligated to be here to say no to nuclear weapons and no to nuclear war.”
Our friend Alice Sutter, a retired family nurse practitioner and member of NYC Metro Raging Grannies said, “Sharing the planet with nuclear weapons leaves me continually traumatized, heartbroken and outraged. Our silence is insanity. Thanks to the hard work of so many, we have The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and now a UN conference on this issue. I’m honored to join others in action to help reawaken a loud cry for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.”
To get a much fuller sense of the day, in both pictures and words, be sure to check out Ellen Davidson’s photo essay.
Sponsors were: World Can’t Wait, NYC War Resisters League, Peace Action NYS, Brooklyn For Peace, Pax Christi NY State, Catholic Worker, Manhattan Project for a Nuclear-Free World, NY Metro Raging Grannies, Code Pink, Kairos Community, The Nuclear Resister, Extinction Rebellion Peace, Uptown Progressive Action, Nukewatch, Veterans for Peace/Chapter 34, Rise & Resist, Brandywine Peace Community and the Granny Peace Brigade NYC.