The event was covered by WCCO TV, KSTP TV, and KMSP TV. It was the subject of several talk show radio call-ins. The Hopkins Sun-Sailor and the StarTribune both covered the event.

12 arrested in nonviolent protest at Alliant Techsystems
By Katherine A. Reilly
Sun Newspapers
(Created 6/6/01 9:00:36 AM)

Twelve protesters were arrested and cited for misdemeanor trespassing by Hopkins Police May 30 at Alliant Techsystems, 600 NE Second St. in Hopkins. They were released.

The 12 were part of a group of approximately 150 people who placed flowers, spread seeds and sang songs during the two-hour protest. The group started on Mainstreet in downtown Hopkins and walked the 1.6 miles to Alliant Techsystems carrying signs, puppets, masks and artificial limbs.

This was the last of the major protests scheduled to be held in Hopkins by Minnesota AlliantAction. AlliantAction is a group opposed to specific weapon systems produced by Alliant Techsystems. It seeks a reduction in military spending and to convert Alliant factories from weapons producing to non-weapons-producing factories, what AlliantAction terms “peace conversion” according to the group’s Web site. The last major protest was held on Nov. 1, 2000. Minnesota AlliantAction has been protesting at Alliant Techsystems in Hopkins for five years.

Alliant Techsystems’ corporate offices are scheduled to move to a new, smaller location in Edina in July, said Rod Bitz, director of public affairs for Alliant Tech. Another unit of the corporation located in the Hopkins facility, ATK Integrated Defense Co., a group that conducts research and lab work, is set to move to office space in Plymouth near Highway 169.

Bitz said the corporation is moving because the building it occupies is a 500,000-square-foot facility that is too large for the approximately 600 employees who work in Hopkins. “It doesn’t make sense to occupy such a huge space,” said Bitz.

Alliant Tech is a military contractor that designs and manufactures propulsion and weapons systems for a variety of agencies around the world including the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the company Web site,

In the past Bitz has said Alliant Tech and its employees are proud to be working on projects to keep American soldiers safe.

Tom Bottolene, a member of Minnesota AlliantAction, said the May 30 protest is the annual spring “Farewell to Arms” protest. He said the event was in part a celebration for Hopkins to have a “killing factory move out.” Bottolene said the weekly Wednesday morning vigils will continue in Hopkins until Alliant Tech moves and then the protests will move with the facility.

"Alliant represents a violent solution to any problem,” said Bottolene. “We are concerned about the future of the world. We know violence is escalating and it is time to try something other than violence to resolve conflict.”

During the protest, Bottolene told the assembled group that Alliant Techsystems has international sales offices in Greece and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, India and Pakistan and in South America. “Most of these places are politically unstable and conflict could erupt anytime,” said Bottolene. “At some time our soldiers will go and be shot at with bullets made by Alliant Techsystems.”

Bottolene, 51 and a St. Paul resident, was one of two adults arrested last June and charged and convicted of felony damage to property in February 2001. Bottolene and Elizabeth McKenzie, 71 and also a St. Paul resident, were found guilty of felony damage to property for damage that occurred to Alliant Techsystems property. A third person, a juvenile under 16, was also found guilty of the same offense and was referred to juvenile court. All three were also found guilty on misdemeanor trespassing charges. According to the Hennepin County complaint, the red paint was smeared into the concrete outside the building and on the glass doors of the building.

According to information from the Hennepin County Attorney’s office, Judge Myron Greenberg sentenced the two adults to three years probation, and ordered them to make restitution to Alliant Techsystems and remain law-abiding citizens.

According to the complaint, cleaning up the paint cost Alliant Techsystems approximately $3,730.

According to information from AlliantAction approximately 400 people have been arrested at Alliant Tech over the past five years. Those arrested May 30 were given a court date of June 20, said Sgt. Tony Hanlin of the Hopkins Police Department. He said historically the protestors plead not guilty and some are eventually fined approximately $25. The fines have been suspended in the past.

Hopkins Police Chief Craig Reid said the police department has shared information about the history of the protests with the Edina Police Department. Reid said Edina officers have supported the Hopkins Police Department in the past during large demonstrations and were at the May 30 protest to observe.

Minnesota AlliantAction meets at Alliant in Hopkins every Wednesday morning for a weekly vigil. Twice each year the group holds a larger demonstration in which members of the protest group participate in civil disobedience by trespassing on Alliant property and then being arrested by Hopkins Police.

As Alliant moves so do protesters
Thursday, May 31, 2001 - Two pictures appeared as part of this story.

Members of Minnesota AlliantAction walked in protest against Alliant Techsystems in Hopkins on Wednesday morning as they do every Wednesday, but this march was considered special. The defense contractor will soon move its headquarters to Maple Grove, and Wednesday's protest was to say "Farewell to arms in Hopkins." More than 400 activists have been arrested at Alliant in the past five years. On Wednesday, police arrested 12 protesters, who were cited and released. The protesters gathered in the downtown area and walked about 11/2 miles to the corporate headquarters. The marchers say they'll move their protest walk to Maple Grove right along with Alliant.

© Copyright 2001 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

NOTE: Alliant will be moving their corporate headquarters to Edina, not Maple Grove as reported in the story. The new location is only several blocks south of their present facility. The new address will be 5050 Lincoln Drive, just off 5th Street and Highway 169.