weather icon Clear

Lookback: Hundreds protest nuclear testing at Nevada Test Site — PHOTOS

It’s not every day that nearly 2,000 people gather in the Nevada desert to protest nuclear testing.

But in 1987 in Mercury, Nevada, it happened.

Protesting at the the Nevada Test Site (now called the Nevada National Security Site) began on Jan. 27 — days before nuclear testing at the site was scheduled to resume after the Soviet Union’s 18-month moratorium on nuclear testing. Over 200 protesters were arrested, primarily for blocking the entrance to prevent cars from reaching the site, according to the New York Times.

The Soviet Union said it would resume nuclear testing if the United States did.

On Feb. 5, a second, larger protest was held at the site on the day the site planned to detonate its first test. However, the Department of Energy conducted the test two days earlier to avoid interference from demonstrators. The protest became the largest protest ever held at the test site, according to the Mohave Daily Miner (now the Kingman Daily Miner).

Several groups organized the protest, including Greenpeace, the American Peace Test, the Peace Committee of the American Public Health Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Actors Kris Kristofferson, Martin Sheen and Robert Blake, as well as scientist Carl Sagan, attended the protest and were arrested. In total, 438 people were arrested: 433 for trespassing and five for resisting arrest, according to a New York Times report.

Between 1986 and 1994, over 37,488 participants attended anti-nuclear testing protests at the Nevada National Security Site, with 15,740 arrests made.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.