The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will take part in a non-violent blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston near Reading this coming Monday (27th October) from 6:30am. Many campaigners will risk arrest by staging sit-down protests in the entrances to the facility, blocking construction work of facilities that may be used to design and manufacture a new generation of nuclear warheads.
The event, organised by Trident Ploughshares and supported by CND, Block the Builders and the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp will bring together anti-nuclear campaigners from all over the UK. Police are expected to deploy heavy cutting equipment to sever highly reinforced chains and handcuffs which activists will use to link themselves together whilst sitting down to block the roadway.
Aldermaston is home to the UK’s nuclear weapons programme and is currently seeing money pouring in at an unprecedented rate. Spending on capital programmes has mushroomed from £24m in 2000 to £420m last year. AWE recently came under fire for near-disastrous environmental management policies. An internal report released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed flooding last summer inundated dozens of buildings at the nearby Burghfield site, where warheads are finally assembled. Radiation safety alarms were disabled for 10 days after the floods.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “Aldermaston is undergoing development on the scale of Heathrow Terminal 5, all with the purpose of testing current nuclear weapons and building the capacity to design even more dangerous warheads. At a time when money is getting tighter, billions are being wasted on a system that makes the world a more, not less dangerous place. Many of us are prepared to risk arrest for the simple action of sitting down in the road, just as Gandhi did, and saying ‘No – not in my name’.
She continued, “The recent revelation that floods came within 2 or 3 hours of sweeping potentially radioactive water from AWE Burghfield into the surrounding area shows the madness of developing weapons of mass destruction just a few miles from Reading and the westerns fringes of London. The Government will soon be selling its one-third share in the AWE management company to one of two American bidders, so US companies will have majority control. The safety of the local population is liable to drop even further down their priorities.”
Updates on arrests etc. will be available from Ben Soffa, CND’s Press Officer on 07968 420 859 and the Big Blockade Media Coordinator Daniel Viesnik on 07506 234 091.
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.