The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will hold a vigil tomorrow (Thursday) in support of two Czech activists, Jan Bednar and Jan Tamas, who have been on hunger strike for 16 days in protest against plans to station a US Missile Defence radar base 50 miles from Prague.
Campaigners will gather with ‘No to US Missile Defence’ and ‘Support the Czech Hunger Strikers’ placards outside the embassy, located in Kensington Palace Gardens, drawing attention to both the Czech situation, and the UK’s role in the American ‘Star Wars’ system.
Date: Thursday 29th May
Time: 12 noon – 1.30pm
Location: Opposite the Czech Embassy, corner of Notting Hill Gate and Clanricarde Gardens, London W2
The activists from the Czech the ‘No to Bases’ movement began their action on 13th May, only a few weeks before the Czech Government is expected to put the treaties accepting the United States Missile Defence radar to the vote in Parliament. Despite 70% of the Czech public opposing the system, the vote in the Chamber of Deputies will be very close – perhaps coming down to a single vote. They have gained widespread support including from US Senator and former Democratic Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich and from Luisa Morgantini MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament.
Two sites in the UK will also be used by the US as part of the Missile Defence system – the radar station at Fylingdales, North Yorkshire and the Menwith Hill spy base, near Leeds, which will relay satellite signals. The Government announced that Menwith Hill would be included in the system without any democratic debate, consultation or accountability – releasing a written statement one day before the summer Parliamentary recess. Polls show a majority of the British public think that hosting such bases puts Europe at greater risk .
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “US plans for Missile Defence are already destabilising Europe, sparking a Russian response that risks moving us toward a new Cold War. We support the courage of the Czech hunger strikers who see this as a key question of national sovereignty. They do not want foreign troops on their soil. They do not want to be embroiled in a new Cold War not of their choosing. We hope that the Czech Government will listen to the vast majority of its people and choose not to host the US radar.”
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.
54% of the public agree (compared with 24% who disagree) that “the siting of US missiles and early warning bases in the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic as part of the US National Missile Defence programme, increases the security threat faced by the UK and Europe.” 22% did not know either way. Figures from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,049 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th – 30th July 2007.