'Largest Blockade in Years' Leads to Arrests at UK Nuclear Facility

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Press Association/UK

'Largest Blockade in Years' Leads to Arrests at UK Nuclear Facility

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A protester at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Tadley is apprehended by police officers. (Press Association)

Police made 10 arrests at a peace protest when hundreds of demonstrators blocked entrances to a nuclear weapons site.

Organisers
of the protest said up to 800 people travelled from across the UK to
take part in the blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in
Aldermaston, Berkshire, where warheads for Trident submarines are made.

Thames
Valley Police, who said the figure was 400, made 10 arrests, five for
obstructing the highway and five for entering the site.

Demonstrators,
including those from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND),
arrived at 7am and blocked the seven gates at the site either by
sitting down in front of them or locking themselves together.

Two
Nobel Peace Prize recipients - Jody Williams, who led a campaign to ban
land mines, and Mairead Maguire, who fronted a drive to end violence in
Northern Ireland - were among those taking part.

CND chairwoman
Kate Hudson said: "People have come from all over the UK and we also
have a big international contingent - it's the biggest blockade for
many years.

"It's a reflection of the fact that the majority of the population is against the British possession of nuclear weapons.

"The
Government wants to be a leading player in nuclear disarmament, but
they can't say that and press ahead with the Trident replacement."

Brian
Larkin, from Trident Ploughshares which helped organise the protest and
who travelled from Helensburgh in Scotland, said: "This is the biggest
blockade of Aldermaston in years and comes at a time when even major
political parties are questioning the logic of spending up to £97
billion on useless weapons. It demonstrates the depth and breadth of
determined civil society opposition to Trident and its planned
replacement.

"Although the Government now seems to have delayed
the next phase of Trident replacement until after the general election,
the ongoing construction of facilities at the AWE for the design,
development and manufacture of new nuclear warheads is illegal and
immoral and will only lead to further proliferation of nuclear weapons."

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