Pandemic peace campaigning

IssueAugust 2020 - September 2020
News by Phil Steele

The pandemic restrictions in Wales meant that from March onwards most peace campaigning took place screen-to-screen via Zoom or Skype.

This, of course, had its limitations, but it did mean that it was no longer necessary – or indeed permitted – to bring people together by making convoluted journeys through the mountains via B-roads or by circuitous train routes.

The Welsh government took a more cautious approach to lockdown than Westminster, but local socially-distanced protests were well-organised and effective.

Black Lives Matter protests were held in at least nine Welsh towns and cities, inspiring discussion about the role of Wales in British imperialism and slavery, and how that should be reflected in education and commemoration.

The Netanyahu-Trump plan for further illegal annexation of Palestinian territory by Israel was also marked by socially-distanced protests.

In July, came the news that the UK government is resuming arms exports to Saudi Arabia, despite losing a humanitarian legal challenge by CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade) in 2019, and despite the war in Yemen having left that country devastated, starving and at risk from pandemic.

This news again raised questions about the training of Saudi combat pilots at RAF Valley on Anglesey, and the role in this of BAE Systems, who make the jets.

Nuclear news

On Anglesey, the new Tory MP, Virginia Crosbie, is an ardent supporter of the military and all things nuclear.

She is desperate to revive the stalled Wylfa Newydd civil nuclear project, but at the moment decisions are deferred.

We await the outcome of a delayed development consent order and a financial model consultation.

Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia is being targeted as a possible host for a Small Modular Nuclear Reactor, in a frantic last roll of the dice by the nuclear industry who now freely admit the military-civil connection.

In Cardiff, the campaign against dumping off the Welsh coast of potentially-radioactive contaminated mud from the Hinkley site returns to the senedd (parliament) for a new enquiry.

Campaigning will continue!

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