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Hundreds blockade Aldermaston

On 27 October, Britain’s nuclear bomb factory at Aldermaston was blockaded by hundreds of peace activists in the largest nonviolent direct action at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) for a decade. Over 30 activists from Trident Ploughshares and CND were arrested by police.

Roads around Aldermaston began to be blocked before dawn as activists from Scotland, Switzerland, Norway and elsewhere converged on the site where Britain’s nuclear weapons are constructed and maintained.

Apart from sitting down in the road, activists used superglue, steel tripods (with people perched on top), and concrete lock-ons (people locking their arms together in tubes buried in concrete) to totally blockade Aldermaston for three hours and partially block it for a further two.

Ray Davies, vice-chair of CND Cymru, who lay in the cold for several hours to help block the Construction Gate, commented later: “We beat the police tactically; they had obviously under-estimated the number of protesters, and did not have the resources to deal with determined peace activists.”

In order to develop new nuclear warheads, the government is set to spend £6bn on developing AWE Aldermaston, including a building programme CND says is on the scale of Heathrow Terminal Five. Daniel Viesnik, spokesperson for Trident Ploughshares, said: “The government does not seem to take notice of anything else other than direct action. We demand that the new developments [at Aldermaston] are ceased and the whole Trident system taken out of service without delay.”

Despite evidence to the contrary, the government denies that any decision on building new warheads for a replacement to the Trident nuclear weapon system has been taken.

Kate Hudson, chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said: “Today’s action at Aldermaston has been a great success. We have effectively obstructed work at the site for many hours, closing gates and blocking roads.”

She added: “This is the largest blockade of Aldermaston for many years.... [It] shows a renewed commitment that Britain’s security should be based on peace and justice, not war and nukes”