More than 700 people were arrested Saturday during an anti-nuclear, anti-Persian Gulf buildup protest at the Nevada Test Site, officials said.
Thousands turned out for the demonstration. Those arrested on misdemeanor trespass charges were taken to holding pens, then transported by bus to Beatty 54 miles north of the remote nuclear proving ground.An Energy Department spokesman estimated the crowd at 2,200 to 2,500 people. A sponsor of the protest, American Peace Test, said the crowd was 3,000 to 4,000 strong.
The turnout was one of the largest since anti-nuclear demonstrations began at the test site nearly a decade ago, but it failed to match a turnout of 5,000 demonstrators in 1987, when 2,000 people were arrested on trespass charges.
The DOE spokesman, Darwin Morgan, said more than 700 people were arrested and would be released on their own recognizance.
"Some of the demonstrators were a bit more aggressive, kicking at the guards when they were brought out of the pens," Morgan said.
Demonstrators carried signs reading "Farms Not Arms," "Give Peace A Chance," "Food Not Bombs," "Radiation is Poison" and "Stop Destroying Our Planet."
The demonstrators rallied near the entrance to the site, then crossed a cattle guard on a road leading to this tiny community that provides support facilities for the testing program.
Others crawled across fences and fanned out into the desert, where dozens of security guards and members of the Nye County Sheriff's office waited to arrest them.
Bill Walker, a spokesman for the Las Vegas-based American Peace Test, said the protest was in opposition to "military policies that have brought the U.S. to the brink of war in the Saudi desert" and in support of a proposed United Nations ban on nuclear testing.
British and U.S. nuclear weapons are tested at the Nevada site, which is 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas.