The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today clarified that despite the recent High Court ruling on byelaws restricting the right to protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston, the demonstration set for Easter Monday will be going ahead, legally, as planned and looks likely to be the biggest in 20 years.
The ‘Bomb Stops Here’ protest of 24th March will celebrate 50 years of campaigning against nuclear weapons, taking place on the anniversary of the arrival of the first march to Aldermaston in 1958. Thousands of protesters are expected to surround the base which produces the warheads for the Trident nuclear weapons system. Coaches from more than 50 locations will bring activists from as far as Aberdeen and Penzance, with many international campaigners also coming to Britain.
Prior to this week’s ruling, the police had already agreed to temporarily lift the byelaws to allow the day-long event to go ahead. CND is liaising with the relevant authorities and does not expect anyone to risk arrest for taking part. General public order legislation will still apply but there is no threat of arrest for anyone taking part in the planned events.
Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp, which challenged the anti-protest byelaws in the High Court this week, are also continuing their protest, contrary to some reports, and are currently camped next to the sprawling bomb factory.
It has also been confirmed that a delegation of survivors from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings will march on Easter Sunday from the former US Cruise Missile base at Greenham Common to Aldermaston, addressing campaigners at a rally there on Easter Monday.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “Despite this clamp-down on the right to peaceful protest, thousands will gather at Aldermaston on Easter Monday to oppose the production of weapons of mass destruction in this quiet corner of Britain. The new ban preventing camping near the site may have been upheld, but the High Court struck down the law preventing banners and signs being attached to the fence. We call on everyone coming to surround the base to bring their banners, messages and symbols of peace to attach to the fence. We will affirm our freedom to protest in opposition to these awful weapons.”
She continued, “The majority of Britons don’t support the costly replacement of Trident [see polls below] yet £5bn is being spent to upgrade Aldermaston. The Government may have won the vote to replace the submarines, but it claims that no decision on new warheads will be taken until the next Parliament. Why then are vast sums being poured into the Atomic Weapons Establishment in pre-emption of this?”
Many original marchers, celebrities and others will be joining activists on March 24th. Please contact CND to arrange interviews.
Notes to Editors:
For further information and interviews please contact Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.
A More4/Populus poll of February 2007 showed 72% of the public either supporting scrapping Trident now, or to keeping the current system, but not currently committing to having nuclear weapons in 20 years time.