Gov. Meldrim Thomson Jr. has proposed that Congress make it a federal crime for protesters in interfere with the construction of any kind of energy-producing plant, nuclear or otherwise.
In an interview Monday night, Thomson said, "If President Carter meant what he said about cutting red tape in the building of nuclear plants, then Congress should look into a law making it a federal offense to do this kind of thing.
"If they can commit overt acts that interfere with the construction of any energy facilities of any kind, it should be an offense."
Thomson's comments came as the local courts began the trials of 1,414 demonstrators arrested in a sit-in at the construction site of a nuclear plant at Seabrook, N.H. About 700 of the protesters are still being held in makeshift jails at five National Guard armories.
(Meanwhile, United Press International reported that thirty-three anti-nuclear demonstrators today refused to leave the Manchester Armory for a hearing in Exeter District Court.
(The demonstrators sat down in a circle and informed officials that they would not leave. Rockingham County Attorney Carleton Eldredge responded by canceling the hearings.
(Harvey Wasserman, spokesman for the Clamshell Alliance, which organized the Seabrook demonstration, said the demonstrators were not told of the hearing until 10:30 p.m. Monday. He said they were not given proper notice of a change in trial dates, originally scheduled into October, and were denied the right to a fair trial and to legal counsel.
(Hearings continued in the Derry District Court, where another 10 demonstrators were convicted Monday of criminal trespass and sentenced to 15 days in jail and $100 fines.)
Thomson urged other states to devise plans for coping with large anti-nuclear demonstrations, which he predicted will increase in frequency.
"They have to have a plan, so that they don't rely on tear gas and water hoses. The states have to avoid provoking anything, but still stand for law and order,' he said.