Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Mass Demo Against Weapons Of Mass Destruction

It was billed as 'The Big Blockade'.

Aldermaston has seen the biggest demonstration in almost two decades outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment following the decision to allow a permanent Uranium store at the site on Wednesday last week [Chronicle, Post].


BBC Berkshire's Emma Midgeley provides some background of the controversy surrounding the site - which has now lasted over 50 years since the first anti-nuclear demonstration at Aldermaston.

Around 800 protesters including the Bishop of Reading, two nobel laureates and a Plaid Cymru MEP were expected from early morning in a day of angry confrontation. Campaigners travelled from as far as Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Spain to attend the protest organised by Trident Ploughshares.

Official estimates of the actual number of demonstrators placed the figure nearer 400.

Campaigners said an estimated £97bn will wasted on 'useless' weapons which will only encourage proliferation of nuclear arms in contravention of the stated aims of international treaties.

Carlsson Laska from Sweden said that what happens in Aldermaston "threatens the whole world," but local residents were more nonchalant about the disruption, explaining that "we are used to it by now," and that it is "only one day a year."

1,400 formal objections were lodged against the plans as campaigners reported 61% of respondents in a door-to-door survey at surrounding villages are opposed to developments at AWE.

Nuclear Information Service director Peter Burt described the consultation as "a shame and a sham" as the group accused West Berkshire council of 'sneaking through' the plans during the Christmas holiday period.

Meanwhile NIS has also has collected together a selection of 34 videos of protesters on their facebook page - you can view them here.

Reported arrests during the peaceful demonstration reached 26 (mainly for obstructing a public highway). 19 cautions were given.

Reading's Green Party members have shown their support for direct action.

Adrian Windisch was in attendance to show his opposition to a nuclear arsenal. He also provides a selection of other sources to show the interest in the story comes from as far and wide as the Tehran Times and the Morning Star.

Interestingly his colleague Rob White says the protest was aimed at highlighting the economic argument against nuclear weapons.

Elsewhere an independent blog was set up to cover the event.

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More stories about AWE Aldermaston

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