Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Just some of the 1,500 protesters who marched on Entergyâ€™s corporate headquarters in Brattleboro on Thursday
With additional reporting by Jeff Potter, using the resources of a video of Wrinn’s press conference posted on YouTube by Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV).
Originally published in The Commons issue #145 (Wednesday, March 28, 2012).
“I’m a local because I am downwind and downstream,” said Wieland.
Grossholtz said before becoming a willing arrestee, she started with writing letters. But nothing changed. So she decided to take to the courts.
Wrinn said that afternoon that those arrested would be taken for “fingerprints, mugshots, and hopefully released on citation” for unlawful trespassing.
After his release from processing at the Brattleboro Police Department, Stewart McDermet, of Dummerston, held like a badge of honor both his citation from the BPD and a yellow flyer from Entergy. warning him that he would risk arrest if he ever sets foot on company property again.
“It’s something to be proud of: standing up for a cause,” he said.
In the Municipal Center, volunteer lawyers William E. Kraham, of Brattleboro and Virginia N. Lee, of Concord, Mass., took protesters’ information and answered questions.
Kraham said the protesters had earned themselves a misdemeanor.
“It’s a serious consequence to have a criminal record, especially with all the databases [the government] has,” he said.
Lee said she views the voluntary arrests as freedom of expression.
As a lawyer, she said, she can maneuver through the courts or legislatures to affect change. Citizens might not have that ability, but they should still have a way to take peaceful action and participate in democracy.
It was the first arrest for Gary Cheney, a Vietnam War veteran from Windham.
Although he didn’t belong to an affinity group, he and a friend had decided to step in.
“They think they’ve won,” he said. “They’ve never won. The secret is to never give up. I refused to be ruled, and I’m never going to give up,” Cheney said. “The beauty of getting old is they can’t do anything to you for too long.”
Ed Anthes of Nuclear Free Vermont, said that although Thursday marked his first arrest in Vermont, he had also been arrested at the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire.
“It’s Entergy that’s illegal today,” he said.
Anthes said that the people and government of Vermont had gone through all the legal steps from Town Meeting resolutions to the Legislature’s 2010 vote that denied VY a Public Service Board hearing. He viewed his arrest as an example of citizens stepping in to prevent what they regard as Entergy’s illegal activity.
Wrinn said that “all the major police departments” — Windham County Sheriff’s Department, Vermont State Police, and the town police forces of Vernon and Brattleboro — “worked in coordination with the organizers.”
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