Marching on...

IssueJune - August 2004
News by Sophie Reynolds

This Easter, biologically and culturally time of new life and hope in western Europe, saw a new and very large step taken by hundreds of anti-nuclear activists in Britain.

Hundreds of people of all ages took thousands of steps, walking the 50+ miles from London to the Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston where Britain's nuclear weapons are developed. The journey took four days with marchers receiving the hospitality of Sikh, Hindu and Christian communities along the way as well as much applause from residents along the route.

The march was intended to highlight proposed new facilities at the nuclear site, which campaigners argue will enable the British government to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons. Organisers (the Aldermaston2004 coalition) hope the event will spark a concentrated period of campaigning and activism focused on Aldermaston and Britain's nuclear weapons programme.

High spirits

Spirits throughout the walk were high and confidence, friendship and empowerment grew among the walking community of people as together we experienced blisters, generosity, the encouragement and passion of a travelling Samba band, police intimidation, exhaustion and each others' commitment, kindness, irritability, diverse gifts and eccentricity.

This is a revived form of activism for Britain, unlike many countries we do not have a recent tradition of long peace walks - and have missed out on the forging of intention, mutual encouragement, fun and learning from each other that travelling, living, and acting together over some days offers. We're all ready for more!