More Than 30 Arrests at Aldermaston Anti-Nuclear Protest

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The Guardian/UK

More Than 30 Arrests at Aldermaston Anti-Nuclear Protest

by
Richard Norton-Taylor

Pat Sanchez lies blocking the gates at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston yesterday morning. (Rochdale online)

Aldermaston, England - More than 30 people were arrested
yesterday during one of the biggest anti-nuclear protests at the Atomic
Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston for 10 years. The gates of the
site were blocked as people attached themselves to concrete blocks
which had to be broken apart by police. Others climbed scaffolding or
lay in the road at the demonstration by about 400 people to mark the
start of the UN World Disarmament Week.

They were protesting
against a decision to modernise the Aldermaston plant in Berkshire and
plans to develop a new warhead for nuclear missiles that the government
wants to buy to replace the Trident system.

The government plans
to spend nearly £6bn on Aldermaston over the next three years.
Ministers claim the money is needed to preserve Britain's ability to
manufacture nuclear warheads safely; they say a decision has not yet
been taken to develop new, "more usable" warheads with the help of
American knowhow.

The Guardian revealed earlier this year that
one of the MoD's senior officials told a private meeting of arms
companies that a decision to replace the existing stockpile of nuclear
warheads had already been taken despite ministers repeatedly denying
there were any plans to replace them and insisting that no decision
would be taken until the next parliament, probably sometime after 2010.

Daniel
Viesnik, spokesman for Trident Ploughshare, said: "The government does
not seem to take notice of anything else other than direct action. We
are opposed to the development of a new generation of warheads and
protesters feel more extreme measures like [yesterday's] have to be
used to get attention."

Kate Hudson, chair of CND, said the protest showed there was a strong increase in public support for nuclear disarmament.

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