Historic blockade comes before crunch Commons vote on nuclear weapons renewal
A SERIES OF protests at the Burghfield Atomic Weapon’s Establishment (AWE) which constructs warheads for Trident nuclear weapons have morphed into a month-long peace camp, organisers say.
The plant near Aldermaston, another part of the UK’s nuclear weapons complex in Berkshire, is essential to the renewal and maintenance of the UK’s nuclear arsenal based on the Clyde at Faslane in Scotland.
Protestors from the Trident Ploughshares group have been taking direct action at the site since last Monday 6 June, using “lock-on tubes” and blockading the factory’s construction gate, causing disruption to production, with trucks being turned away from the plant.
Blockader Rowland Dye said: “This is the beginning of the end for Trident. We are jubilant at halting construction work for a whole week. This has probably never happened before at a UK military base. We are determined to continue and encourage groups coming to Burghfield throughout June to disrupt the base in as many creative and life affirming ways as possible.”
The action comes before a vote on the controversial renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon’s system, expected after the UK’s referendum on continued membership of the EU on 23 June.
The cost of renewing the weapons has been estimated to be as high as £167bn.
“This is the beginning of the end for Trident.” Rowland Dye
Camilla Cancantata, another activist at the plant, said: “Trident replacement is an issue that concerns everybody, no matter what their political allegiance or views on Brexit.
“The UK government insists that the only route for survival is through austerity: cutting health services, local public transport, closing libraries – even imposing cuts on the military – yet the figures involved in replacing Trident are staggering: an estimated £31 billion to replace the submarines, with a total bill of £205 billion for the entire weapons system.
“Moreover, what the UK government is doing is both immoral and devious. They are calling this 'routine maintenance' when in fact it is re-armament, which flies in the face of our obligation to uphold international law and abide by the non-proliferation treaty of 1968 which was ratified by the UK.”
Organisations attending the protest include organisers Trident Ploughshares, CND groups, religious leaders and academics opposed to Trident renewal.
Picture courtesy of Trident Ploughshares
Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.