TWIN LAKES, CA – A protest at the Avicenna Nuclear Power Plant, which is under consideration for activation, broke out into a riot made short-lived by a freak thunderstorm Monday afternoon.
No fatalities were reported, but forty-one people were treated for minor to moderate injuries, most as a result of being trampled or fallen on.
Staff Sergeant L.C. Baker of the nearby Edwards Air Force Base said that while a military and meta-human peacekeeping force had been sent to monitor the protest and handle any outbursts of violence, he was grateful that the weather did much of the work in keeping the protesters from getting out of hand.
“You could tell a lot of them weren’t happy to see us there to begin with, and when the wind picked up and it started raining, some of them left right away before it got bad,” Baker said. “Those were the sane ones.”
Many protesters remained, their chants of “Hell no, we won’t glow” subdued but not stopped by the downpour. Assembled in one of the fields outside the plant’s perimeter fence, several of them charged toward the nearest gate when a high-pitched alarm sounded from the vicinity of the plant itself.
“In hindsight I probably should have left with the first wave,” said Aileen Finnegan of Burbank, “but there wasn’t any clue the weather was going to get that bad, and it wouldn’t have been much of a protest if we cared more about staying dry than staying safe.”
Finnegan suffered a twisted ankle from slipping in mud as she ran toward the gate, and bruised ribs when another protester tripped and landed on her.
“Storm Ranger”, a meta-human from the Millenium City area, released a statement to GNN in which he expressed regret for any unknown influence he may have had on the freakish weather. Storm Ranger was part of the peacekeeping force, sent by PRIMUS.
“Under no circumstances was it my intent to endanger innocent civilians, and my thoughts are with those who were injured,” the statement reads.
Twenty-four of the casualties were protesters; the rest were military or plant employees who suffered injuries as a result of structural damage to the plant. Estimates are still ongoing to determine the extent of the weather damage to the plant, but even if President Bush gives the okay to begin using the Avicenna site as an actual power plant, there will undoubtedly be delays.
“Maybe they’ll take it as a sign,” Finnegan said. “Not even God wants this abomination up and running.”
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office did not respond to requests for comment.