LONDON - A group of 100 protesters on Tuesday
invaded a British defense site which could play a key role in the
United States ``Son of Star Wars'' missile defense system.
British, Danish and American protesters were among a group of
activists occupying three areas in the Menwith Hill base in
northern England, campaign group Greenpeace said.
President Bush's proposed shield system is intended to
protect the United States and its allies from long range missile
Greenpeace protestors with makeshift rockets and flags protest on the water tower at Menwith Hill RAF base near Harrogate July 3, 2001. The demonstraters are protesting against the proposed U.S. missile defence system. REUTERS/Ian Hodgson
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he has taken no
decision on whether to back the project but his spokesman has
signaled broad support.
Many Europeans are skeptical about the proposed missile
shield's capability after some test failures. They are also
concerned that the United States should not tear up key arms
control treaties with Russia that limit such defenses.
Greenpeace said 50 activists, some carrying flags with the
message ``Star Wars Starts Wars'' and others dressed as missiles,
had gone in through the base's front gate. Others had scaled the
razor wire perimeter fence.
Greenpeace member Helen Wallace said: ``I am chained to a
water tower inside the site.
``A number of people have been arrested. We are going to stay
here to make our point that Menwith Hill is part of Bush's
dangerous Star Wars plan and we want Tony Blair to stop that,''
she told BBC radio.
A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said protesters were on a
water tower and on the roof of the control room after a group of
100 had rushed the main gate and scaled the fence.
``There have been a number of arrests,'' she added.
Greenpeace said that if Britain gives the go-ahead, Menwith
Hill will be used as a ground relay station to transmit
information on missile location and trajectory back to the U.S.
to help with targeting for interceptor missiles.
Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited