Monday’s peaceful blockade of Aldermaston’s nuclear bomb factory was the biggest for a decade. Hundreds of protestors gathered from 5.30am to block the gates and halt work at the site, which is being prepared for the building of new nuclear bombs. We wanted to delay that building process and raise public awareness of what is going on there, in our name – and at our expense.
In the event we had some success. A number of gates were blocked for several hours, and coverage of the issue has extended into the national media. The imaginative nature of the protests caught many people’s attention – from locking themselves together inside concrete casings, to sitting atop a massive wooden tripod, blocking an approach road to the site. Colourful costumes were a feature, as were music and songs of protest and defiance.
Once again – as with the huge CND demonstration at Aldermaston last Easter – there were many young people on the protest, some participating in their very first blockade. More are questioning the basis on which our government pursues its war and nuclear weapons policies. And many students across the country are protesting about army recruitment, and military funded research, at colleges and universities.
This week’s protest is just the tip of the vast iceberg of public opposition to Britain’s nuclear weapons. Polls show a majority opposed to the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system, yet the government persists with its plans and its pointless wasteful spending. The system is estimated to cost in excess of £76 billion.
It is folly beyond belief that at a time of economic crisis, our government is prioritising nuclear bombs over healthcare, housing, job creation and investment in sustainable energy production – or the numerous other ways in which our government could spend our money for our benefit.
There are many ways to oppose nuclear weapons. Blockading at Aldermaston is one of them. But you can also write to the Prime Minister or your MP, sign our petition on this website, or raise the issue in your trade union or students’ union, run a street stall or write to the local paper. Every action no matter how small contributes to our ultimate success. After all, no one ever knows which will be the last straw.