Protesters are arrested by Bath and state police Saturday outside the South Gate of Bath Iron Works shortly before the christening of the USS Daniel Inouye Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer.  (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

BATH — Police arrested 22 protesters Saturday morning for blocking traffic or gates outside Bath Iron Works leading up to a christening ceremony for the future USS Daniel Inouye. 

The protests are part of a larger pushback by peace and environmental groups against the United States’ global military presence and, more recently, the military’s contribution to global climate change.  

Peace and environmental activists gathered in the Portland Public Library Friday demanding BIW convert from making military vessels to wind turbines. 

Activists claim the Pentagon has the largest carbon footprint in the world, and BIW exacerbates that by building military vessels. Speakers representing 14 peace and climate groups took part in the event. Among the speakers was Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate. 

“Bath Iron Works could be building wind towers and high-speed trains … making us a part of a global community that needs to put down our weapons of war and fight the greatest war that has ever faced mankind: the war against climate change,” Stein said. 

Patsy Messier, a BIW employee for more than 32 years, said in a written statement shared at the event that she believes “BIW has the capacity with all the equipment and people who are already there for the conversion to happen pretty easily. All it would take is the will by the people.” 

In 2009 Statoil, a Norwegian energy company, was interested in building offshore wind farms off the coast of Maine. BIW was in the task force looking to expand offshore wind energy, as the project would require companies with marine construction experience. 

Statoil later ended the project in 2013, after it faced resistance from Gov. Paul LePage and the Legislature, and moved it to Scotland. 

At the end of the event, activists outlined their plan to risk arrest and protest Saturday’s christening of the future USS Daniel Inouye. 

Stein later said the protest, “isn’t against BIW, it’s against the bloated military budget … they’re protesting the ship.” 

According to police, protesters from Maine Veterans for Peace and Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space protested the event in several spots outside BIW. 

Protesters were primarily stationed on Washington Street by King Street but some moved to BIW’s South Gate and others to Vine Street. There were approximately 50 people protesting the event. 

According to a press release, 12 protesters throughout the hour blocked the entrance to the South Gate of Bath Iron Works on Washington Street. Busses carrying invited guests were blocked from entering the shipyard 

“All 12 were issued lawful orders to leave the roadway but remained and were arrested without incident,” the release stated. “Five protesters were arrested on Vine Street for obstructing a public way. They had entered the road and blocked a bus carrying passengers to the event. They remained on the road after being given lawful orders to leave and were arrested without incident. 

Police said five other protesters were arrested for blocking the flow of traffic on King Street. They were also ordered to leave the road and allegedly refused. 

The following were arrested Saturday: 

Luther Howard age 71 from Fairhaven, MA 

Cynthia Howard age 72 from Biddeford, ME 

Lisa Savage age 62 from Solon, ME 

Mark Roman age 71 from Solon, ME 

William Thomas age 76 from Auburn, ME 

Daniel Ellis age 71 from Brunswick 

Richard Lethem age 87 from Brunswick, ME 

Constance Jenkins age 71 from East Blue Hill, ME 

Dudley Hendrick age 77 from Deer Isle, ME 

Robert Shetterly age 72 from Brooksville, ME 

Sophia Fuller age 72 from Belfast, ME 

Mary Beth Sullivan age 65 from Brunswick, ME 

Bruce Gagnon age 66 from Brunswick, ME 

Ashley Bahlkow age 35 from North Yarmouth, ME 

Sophia Bahlkow age 43 from North Yarmouth, ME 

Natalyn Mayers age 73 from Whitefield, ME 

Kenneth Jones age 70 from Swannanoa, NC 

Sarah Fulton age 30 from Davis, CA 

James Freeman age 70 from Verona Island, ME 

Dixie Searway age 81 from Parsonsfield, ME 

Russell Wray age 64 from Hancock, ME 

George Ostensen age 64 from Hope, ME 

Bath police say 10 refused the sign any summonses or bail slips during the booking process and were taken to the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset. 

All 22 protesters are scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on Aug. 6. 

Bath Iron Works held a christening ceremony in April for the USS Lyndon B. Johnson. A group of protesters representing peace groups gathered outside that event as well.  

Police arrested 25 protesters for blocking a road at that event, but the district attorney ultimately decided to drop the charges, saying in a news release that prosecuting the protesters would tie up resources and give the demonstrators “undue publicity.” 

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