Disarming Aldermaston

IssueOctober 2010
News by David Polden

On 6 September, as part of a Trident Ploughshares Summer Gathering in Reading, the Aldermaston atomic weapons’ factory was symbolically disarmed.

During the morning rush hour, around 20 supporters of Trident Ploughshares blockaded one gate of the factory to protest at plans to build a new multi-million pound warhead testing facility there. Four chained themselves together inside arm tubes (lock-ons) and lay in front of the gate for two hours, releasing themselves without being arrested shortly after 9am. Others supported with banners and songs.

Later, three Christian peace activists, Chris Cole and Catholic Workers Susan Clarkson and Martin Newell cut a gateway into the outer fence and attached a sign. They then entered through the doorway, knelt and prayed. They were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass and criminal damage and taken to Newbury police station. They were released at 9pm and bailed to return to face probable charges in December.

The three issued a statement saying: “We come to… Aldermaston to open a new gateway into this tightly guarded factory of death… This week marks the 30th anniversary of the first act of nuclear disarmament, the ‘Ploughshares Eight’ and we act, inspired by that spirit of disarmament.”