Seven Catholic peace activists were detained early Thursday at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia after entering the installation to protest nuclear weapons.
The protesters were “carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood” when they entered the base, according to a statement from fellow activists. “They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace,” it said.
A Kings Bay spokesman said the anti-nuke group entered without authorization and smeared what appeared to be red paint on buildings and signs around the base.
Following the incident, seven demonstrators were detained and turned over to local authorities, the spokesman, Scott Bassett, told The Washington Post. Authorities said the protesters were arrested and transported to the county jail. They face possible charges of trespassing and defacing federal government property.
“At no time was anybody threatened,” Bassett said about the incident, adding that there were no reported injuries and that no military personnel or “assets” were in danger.
The Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, a 17,000-acre installation in southeastern Georgia, is known as “the east coast home to the Ohio-class submarines.”
Bassett said about 9,000 people work at the base, which houses two Ohio-class guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) and six Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs). The submarines are deployed for several months at a time.
According to the Navy, the “ballistic missile submarines, often referred to as ‘boomers,’ serve as an undetectable launch platform for intercontinental missiles. They are designed specifically for stealth and the precise delivery of nuclear warheads.”
The SSGNs, the military says, “provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform.”
The demonstrators who entered the base Wednesday night called themselves the “Kings Bay Plowshares” and are part of the broader “Plowshares movement,” a strain of peace activism in which people break into nuclear weapons sites.
Other members of the movement sent out a news release about the incident Thursday, saying that the activists “went to three sites on the base: The administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers.
“The activists used crime scene tape, hammers and banners reading: The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King; The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide; Nuclear weapons: illegal — immoral.”
Bassett said he could not confirm the group’s claims, saying that the incident is still under investigation.
The news release from Kings Bay Plowshares included photos that the group said showed the activists and their apparent vandalism at the base.
This post has been updated.