The obscenity of spending £100 billion to upgrade Trident at a time of crippling financial cuts must be one of the defining arguments of May’s general election.
Following a successful demonstration outside Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital by CND Cymru and Côr Cochion- “NHS Not Trident” -, we headed for AWE Burghfield determined to bring the nuclear bomb facility to a standstill.
After Non-violent Direct Action training the previous evening, and a few hours’ sleep, we set off in the pitch dark long before dawn, winding through the Berkshire hedgerows towards AWE Burghfield.
Our group jumped out of the minibus and quickly joined protesters already locked on at South Gate. From 6 am until late afternoon, no traffic passed through the gate- except for an occasional bicycle- and we settled down to a long
blockade aided by a steady supply of cups of tea, Welsh cakes, and sandwiches. The hours passed with many songs shared, and moving personal testimonies from those at the gate.
We truly were, as the song says, a land of many colors: Japanese Buddhists, American peacemakers, peace activists young and old, veterans of Greenham Common and Faslane in Scotland.
Construction Gate was also brought to a halt, despite initial rough treatment of the international young people from Sweden, France, and North America by the police.
At North Gate, the protesters had been closely followed by police and initially prevented from locking on; but eventually, the whole of the bomb factory was essentially closed for business.
The hundreds of police drafted in had come from many parts of Britain; at least two of those standing at North Gate were Welsh and appeared to appreciate our rendition of Welsh peace songs.
We ended the day with a moving and joyous circle. We marked the recent passing of Fr. Bill “Bix” Bichsel, a fearless American peace activist, by calling his name and shouting, “Present!”
As the crowd swelled to 100 strong, a police officer caught hold of me and threatened to arrest me if I did not clear the road; but instead, I held his hand and led him into the dancing circle – and he quickly dropped
mine. Joining hands, we all sang “Gonna lay down my sword and shield”, filling the country lane with our circle of peace.
Our message came across loud and clear: “We shall not be moved!”