Wales visits Aldermaston!

IssueMarch 2010
News by Angie Zelter

At the 15 February Big Blockade of the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the Welsh were assigned to Construction Gate, one of the most important gates for vehicle access in the coming months.

The Welsh started arriving around 6am. Around 6.30am, vans with internationals arrived, followed quickly by more Welsh groups and Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhists.

People with metal lock-on tubes and a very effective lock-on drum of four positioned themselves in the lanes to the gate. Aberystwyth’s Côr Gobaith choir started singing. People from Bangor, Swansea, Knighton and Aberystwyth joined others from Belgium, Spain, Columbia, and Germany in a cheerful blockade.

Festooned with flags and banners, Construction Gate was fully blocked by 7am. It could not be opened without a major policing effort. We cheered when we heard that blockades were in place at every single gate! The police started to take photos of the traffic queues piling up on the roads – no doubt for use in court to prove we had disrupted the life of the “community” – the community wanting to get in to build weapons of mass murder!

Word came that another gate had been opened. A student group moved fast and blocked that gate [see Maya Evans’ Diary, p13]. More cheers. It was a rollercoaster emotionally as news filtered in from around AWE.

The Tadley Gate was thoroughly blocked with around 150 religious people singing hymns and praying. The Home Office Gate, with 50 women, was blocked and two Nobel peace prize laureates lay in the road....

When the Spanish and Belgian contingent decided to move to block the A340, the Welsh lock-ons moved right up to the gates. The police were taken by surprise when this effective manoeuvre was accomplished so quickly. It took them two hours to dismantle the Spanish and Belgian lock-ons and clear the road.

Of the 26 people eventually arrested – 12 Spanish, 11 UK, and 3 Belgians – the Spanish and Belgians and one of the UK people were from Construction Gate. 16 in all! The issue of the UK breaking the Non-Proliferation Treaty and encouraging state terrorism was given a good airing in interviews in the local, Welsh and international press.

By afternoon we had achieved our goals. So, the blockaders converged on the Main Gate for a closing sing and dance. Then we made our way back to reverend Ali’s church in Reading where good food and company awaited.

Will you join us next time?

Topics: Nuclear Weapons
See more of: Wales