Vegas Peace Protest

A group of peace advocates set out on an 65-mile trek Tuesday to the Nevada Test Site, where they planned a weekend protest against nuclear weapons and the war in Iraq.

"We need to wage peace," organizer John Amidon said as 15 well-wishers saw 21 sign-toting walkers and two bicyclists off at the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

The marchers planned to camp along the way, meet supporters and
Western Shoshone tribe members for a Saturday "peace camp" near
the test site gate town of Mercury, and take part in a Sunday protest with celebrity peace advocates with plans for peaceful civil disobedience arrests.

Amidon, of the Nevada Desert Experience advocacy group, said the
march and protest would highlight opposition to the war in Iraq and draw attention to a government proposal to modernize the nation's
nuclear weapons complex in the next quarter-century, dubbed Complex
2030.

"We do not need new nuclear weapons," he said.

The test site is a vast federal reservation nearly the size of Rhode Island where the government conducted above- and below-ground
nuclear detonations from 1951 to 1992. It remains the site of non-nuclear government tests on radioactive materials.

A similar rally organized by the multi-faith Nevada Desert Experience last April drew about 35 demonstrators to Mercury, including 21 who crossed a test site boundary line, received trespassing tickets from Nye County sheriff's deputies, and were released.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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