AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GREENPEACE ** PEACE ACTION
PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Bruce Hall or Tom Clements, Greenpeace Disarmament Campaign,
at the U.N. via cellphone: 917-864-3638/3648
Deborah Rephan at the Greenpeace Newsdesk: 202-319-2492
Peggy Prince in santa Fe New Mexico: 505-989-4812
Kathy Crandall at the Disarmament Clearinghouse: 202-898-0150, x232.
TEST BAN SHOULD BE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Communities Across U.S. Commemorate Grassroots Victory with Call for Nuclear Abolition
WASHINGTON, September 24, 1996 - Grassroots activists in over a dozen U.S. cities commemorated today's signing of the long-sought Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in New York by organizing bell tollings and other events to draw attention to the need for further nuclear disarmament measures.
"The completion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a historic moment in the decades-old quest for nuclear disarmament and it was brought about by grassroots activism," said Greenpeace's Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner Bruce Hall. "In communities across the country, bells will ring 51 times today to mark the damage done by 51 years of nuclear testing."
Since the first nuclear test in 1945, there have been 2,046 nuclear tests at more than 20 locations around the globe. The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy (now Peace Action), Women Strike for Peace, and Physicians for Social Responsibility formed in the late 1950s and early 1960s to oppose the blasts. Greenpeace formed in 1971 when a group of activists set sail toward Amchitka, Alaska
to oppose a planned US nuclear test on that island. But despite decades of intense public and diplomatic pressure, the test ban remained elusive until negotiations started again at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in January 1994. The 50th United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the CTBT on September 10, 1996.
"As we mark the important role of citizen activists in ending nuclear weapon test explosions, we are also recommitting ourselves to the goal of a nuclear weapon-free 21st Century," said Peggy Prince who organized the commemoration taking place today in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After a noon rally and the tolling of the bells at St. Francis Cathedral, there will be a caravan to Los Alamos National
Laboratory, which developed the first atomic bombs. "We've made the difference on the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, we can make the difference on nuclear disarmament."
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists editor Michael Moore will speak at tonight's commemoration and bell tolling at the University of Chicago, site of the first nuclear chain reaction. Bell tollings are also planned in Honolulu, Seattle, New York City, Philadelphia, Princeton, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.
These events and others have been organized through the Disarmament Clearinghouse - a joint project of Greenpeace, Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Plutonium Challenge, and Women's Action for New Directions. Citizens taking part will sign a People's Pledge that describes the zero-yield CTBT as "a testament to the power of grassroots activism and (as constituting) an important step toward the unfinished task of abolishing nuclear weapons."
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