Peace activists to meet the U.S. Navy Fleet arrival at Seafair


Peace activists to meet the U.S. Navy Fleet arrival at Seafair on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 in Elliott Bay

Contact:    Glen Milner (206) 365-7865
Mary Gleysteen (360) 265-1589
Day of the event (206) 979-8319

Local activists will stage a water-based nonviolent protest against the glorification of weapons of war at the Seattle Seafair festival.  Peace activists will meet the U.S. Navy fleet in Elliott Bay.

Other peace activists will meet on land at Waterfront Park on the Seattle waterfront at the same time for a nonviolent demonstration against weapons of war.  The rooftop of Bell Harbor Marina is closed to the public this year, and Piers 62/63 are construction areas.

What:  Peace activists at Seafair.  This is the sixteenth year for this demonstration. 

When:  Wednesday, August 2, noon, Peace Fleet in Elliott Bay.  Demonstration on land at Waterfront Park (just south of the Seattle Aquarium) at 1 PM.

Where:  In Elliott Bay, near Pier 66.  Demonstration on land at Waterfront Park (just south of the Seattle Aquarium.)

For the sixteenth year, peace activists will address the public display of warships and warplanes in our community.

Why would we demonstrate for peace at a Seattle maritime festival?  Because the celebration of warships in our harbor helps bring about the normalcy of modern war.

The fleet arrival at Seafair is a public relations and recruiting event for the U.S. Navy.  Previous years have brought Trident nuclear submarines complete with nuclear warheads and Navy warships used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first and second Wars on Iraq and the War on Afghanistan.  The fleet is displayed for four days in downtown Seattle at tremendous cost to taxpayers while crucial social services in education, health care, and transportation are being cut for lack of funds.

Please see Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet — Peace activists at Seafair on August 2, 2017

The Peace Fleet is an incarnation of earlier demonstrations: the People’s Blockade of U.S. Navy vessels carrying munitions during the Vietnam War; and the Peace Blockade in Hood Canal, demonstrating against the arrival of the first Trident submarine, the USS Ohio, at the Trident submarine base at Bangor in 1982.

The Peace Fleet began on August 2, 2000 when the Trident submarine, USS Alabama, arrived in downtown Seattle for Seafair, complete with up to 192 nuclear warheads.

In 2011, Seafair and the Navy changed the public viewing area on the rooftop of Pier 66 into a private event.  This is the location where in previous years the public had been invited to view the Parade of Ships.  In past years, the number of peace activists including the singing group, the Raging Grannies, equaled the number of other rooftop observers.  In 2016, the rooftop was open to the public for the first year since 2010 without incident.  The rooftop is closed again this year to the public.

2012 was the first year for the Coast Guard’s permanent rule for its no-protest zone, or so-called “safety zone,” in Elliott Bay.  The Coast Guard agreed with the ACLU that Peace Fleet boats should be able to remain in the area between the Coast Guard’s 100-yard exclusionary zone from Navy vessels and the safety zone which extends 100 yards from Pier 66.  See below the Coast Guard map for Pier 66 for 2014 showing the Seafair Parade of Ships route along the waterfront.

In 2013, the US Navy did not attend Seafair due to military budget cuts in FY 2013 resulting from the Budget Control Act of 2011, also known as sequestration.  The Department of Defense decided in 2013 to halt participation in community relations or outreach events that come at additional cost to the federal government.  In April 2013, a spokesperson for the Navy’s 3rd Fleet said that the round-trip bill for fuel alone for three warships from San Diego to attend the Seattle Seafair festival in 2012 cost $1.1 million.

On July 14, 2017, on a vote of 344-88, the House of Representatives passed a $696 billion National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2018.  Of the 10 Washington State representatives, only Representative Jayapal voted against the defense bill.  The bill far exceeded the amount of money sought by the Pentagon and the Trump administration.

On June 14, 2016, on a vote of 85-13, the Senate passed a $602 billion National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017.  Both Senators Murray and Cantwell voted for the defense bill.  Likely they will both support the Senate bill this year.

The Peace Fleet this year, as in past years, will require no public funds or public resources.

The next Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action event is August 12-14 at the Ground Zero Center in Poulsbo, and at the Bangor submarine base, in commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and NagasakiOn August 12, Peace Fleet vessels and other vessels will sail past the Trident submarine base in Hood Canal in a Boats by Bangornonviolent demonstration.

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