From Wales to Aldermaston – the nuclear disarmament demonstrations continue

Peace activists from all over Wales are preparing to take part in a non-violent blockade of Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston on February 15th. People and groups from all over Britain will be using various non-violent methods to obstruct the gates to the British nuclear bomb making factory base. The intention is to disrupt the ongoing deployment of Trident and the new nuclear warheads being developed on the site. Groups and individuals of all ages, religious and political beliefs and backgrounds will be travelling to the blockade from Knighton, Swansea, the South Wales Valleys, Newport, Aberystwyth and Bangor. Jill Evans, MEP since 1999 and Chair of CND Cymru will also take part in the protest with other Members of the Scottish, British and European Parliaments.Côr Gobaith of Aberystwyth will also be singing outside the ‘Welsh Gate’ at Aldermaston. Protestors will highlight the immorality, illegality, insecurity and waste of resources inherent in the development and possession of nuclear weapons.

Jill Evans commented:

“The British government is cutting public services but at the same time are spending billions of pounds on illegal, immoral and ineffective nuclear weapons. Most people are in favour of scrapping Trident and having better schools and hospitals. In this economic and climate crisis, the moment is right to for the government to take a lead on this. We will keep protesting until they listen.”

Comments from other participants: Michael Green, Knighton, Powys (Theatre Director):

“Nuclear weapons were always insane. Now they’re also stupid in that they’re totally unsuited to the types of war that will, sadly, be fought in the 21st century.”

Pippa Bartolloti Newport Gwent (Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Newport West):

“The British Government must listen to its own people, there is no desire for new nuclear weapons and there is no support for new nuclear weapons. Trident renewal will cost British taxpayers more than £95 billion -money that should be spent on eradicating poverty and creating sustainable Green collar jobs for the future. Nuclear weapons are not about defence, they are about attack of the most foul and destructive kind in existence.”

Heather Bolton, Bangor

“Part of my reason for taking part in the Aldermaston Blockade is to highlight the hypocrisy of the British Government which appears to be seeking a role as a global policeman, stating who can or cannot possess nuclear weapons. Meanwhile the British Government is itself reneging on international commitments to decrease its own nuclear weaponry.”

Angie Zelter, Knighton (Founder of Trident Ploughshares and Right Livelihood Award Laureate)

“5 of us from Knighton are joining others from Builth Wells to support the Blockade of Aldermaston. We have a duty to non-violently resist the building of new nuclear weapons facilities and stop Britain’s reckless and illegal nuclear proliferation. Our message is simple – No to Trident and No to any replacement or modernising of nuclear weapons.”

Jan Jones, Swansea (Artist)

“We need a nuclear disarmament treaty, not new nuclear weapons. How can we tell other countries that they can’t have nuclear weapons when we insist on having them? Chemical and biological weapons have been banned – we’ve got a chance now to ban nuclear weapons as well.”

Nick Jewitt, Bangor

“Nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but it is illegal for Britain to continue to have them, still less to manufacture new ones, when it is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Five of us will be going to Aldermaston from the Bangor area, to represent the many who oppose both the dishonouring of the Treaty and the appalling waste of money already being spent as well as the huge amounts proposed for Trident Replacement.”

ENDS Bilingual interviews are available from Welsh speaking participants. CONTACTS: CND Cymru National Secretary, Jill Gough 01239 85 11 88 m: 07704 675787 For interview:

  • Jill Evans MEP: e: Jill.evans@europarl.europa.eu t: 01443 441 395 m: 07803 902 401
  • Jill Evans is Chair of CND Cymru. As an MEP she represents the whole of Wales in the European Parliament. She was arrested at Faslane in 2007 during a blockade of the nuclear base by elected representatives from all over Europe.
  • Newport, Gwent Pippa Bartolloti e: pbartolotti@freenetname.co.uk
  • Knighton Michael Green, e: michael.green@fountainhead.org.uk t: 01588 650 780
  • Knighton Angie Zelter m: 078-35354652
  • Swansea Jan Jones e: swanseacnd@btinternet.com t: 01792 830 330
  • Bangor Nick Jewitt m: 07909 588208
  • Bangor Heather Bolton m: 07955 380022
  • Aberystwyth m: 07817 596 285

NOTES

  • More information about the blockade: www.tridentploughshares.org
  • The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament: www.cnduk.org
  • CND Cymru: www.cndcymru.org
  • Potted history of AWE Aldermaston 2000-7: http://www.tridentploughshares.org/article1476

When the British Parliament decided to replace the British nuclear weapons system Trident in March 2007, it agreed to new submarines and missiles, but not to refurbishing or replacing the warheads. Despite the fact that such a decision is not due until the next Parliament, continued building work at AWE Aldermaston suggests plans to test, design and build a new generation of nuclear warheads are already going ahead. The Government says that the decision to replace Trident is not irreversible. A delay to the ’Initial Gate’ decision on replacing the Trident nuclear weapons submarines will now take place following the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010. A recent poll showing the majority of the British public want the country to rid itself of nuclear weapons. Those who campaign for nuclear disarmament employ as many kinds of non-violent methods as there are different kinds of people and possibilities – from lobbying and petitioning, street activity, peace camps and direct action, from Faslane in Scotland (where the Trident Nuclear armed and powered submarines are based) down to Devonport in south west England where the Trident submarines are maintained. All have their welcome place in the movement, and AWE Aldermaston is no exception, as many groups such as Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp, CND Cymru and Trident Ploughshares have all played a part in highlighting the role of the nuclear bomb factory. A Westminster Government Defence Review Green Paper published on 3rd February assumed that Trident is to be renewed and that this is not up for discussion. While official estimates are that the capital costs of renewing Trident will be £15 – 20 Billion, with annual running costs of £1.5 billion per year until 2060, the true costs are likely to be higher. It is Trident that should be cut, not vital public services.