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30 years ago: Peace Camps round-up

During the years when there were peace camps - and regular one-off actions - at military bases all over the country [partly, but not only, on account of the cruise missile sites being established], Peace News ran a fortnightly round-up of news of actions.

A fortnight ago two peace campers from Daws Hill [an RAF base at High Wycombe which housed a US nuclear control bunker] went on an excursion into the nearby Chiltern Hills and occupied the microwave radio mast at Christmas Common. This is part of the American ‘Autovon’ military network. They occupied the tower at 3am on Saturday March 3 at the unstaffed, highly vulnerable, station. Other people also removed most of the perimeter fence. American and MoD officials arrived during the day to tell the occupiers that they were ‘in great danger’ from the microwave radiation – but of course refused to switch it off.

The two finally came down on Monday, by which time most of the fence had been re-erected – and the lock on the gate had been sealed with superglue.... it took some time to get them out. They were held for a while by the police, but not charged.

Women from Bristol blocked approach roads to the M32 on February 29, as part of the national day of action on Emergency Service Routes (ESRs) called by Greenham Women Against Cruise. Bristol motorists were leafletted and talked to, to draw attention to the planned closure of the M32 as an ESR in the event of a nuclear alert. ESR actions took place in all parts of the country, including Newcastle, Gloucester, Norwich, Cardiff, Sheffield, the Isle of Wight, and Glasgow. They included actions outside ‘civil defence’ bunkers and demonstrations along ESRs, and drawing attention to them using placards and paint. Exeter CND stencilled ‘Cruise Missile Route’ on flyovers along the M5, while activists in the Welsh Border country set up a ‘border post’, welcoming peace traffic but making the point that cruise convoys would be resisted.

[Other similar anti-militarist direct action stories in the same issue included reports from Faslane, Naphill (Buckinghamshire), Alconbury, Cardiff, Waterlooville, Rosyth, Greenham Common, Hackney, Lancaster, Birmingham, south-east London, and Nottingham.]

From the 16 March 1984 issue of Peace News. Compiled by Albert Beale, author of Against All War: Fifty Years of Peace News.