The 20th June was a pouring wet morning, and the rain
continued even after my friend Ann had met me some miles south of
Burghfield. We drove through the beautiful Berkshire countryside, the
trees heavy with summer green, along winding peaceful lanes full of wild
flowers, remote farms, cows chewing; so much beauty.
Suddenly, this changed as we got close to the Burghfield
Atomic Weapons Establishment with its ugly high metal fence, surrounding
yet another high fence; inside which were many drab buildings where the
Trident nuclear weapons are assembled. My friend and I drove to the
women’s blockade at the construction gate. Ann parked across the gate,
and we were welcomed by a large group of women, laughter, singing, and a
good feeling, despite the presence of half-a-dozen police vehicles and
an increasingly large group of Police, totalling in the end about fifteen.
A police officer approached Ann and told her that her car
must be removed within 4 – 5 minutes or it would be towed away. Ann is
deaf, so was unable to hear this, and asked the officer to provide a
sign language interpreter. Soon more police arrived (although no sign
language interpreter!) and the instruction was written down. So yet more
delays! Eventually Ann removed her car to the other side of the road,
and suddenly the police left, presumably heading for the main gate and
the London Region’s Mad Hatters’ Tea Party.
At the women’s blockade, we built several tripod wooden
structures and placed them across the construction gate entrance. I
enjoyed talking with the other women: Sylvia who had come down from
Yorkshire, and was being careful not to be arrested as she was already
on a Conditional Discharge until September, for having ‘damaged’ some of
the wire at the base.
We had fun!
Later, a group of us drove around to The Mearings where the
staff leave. We took our posters and placards with us and we were a
presence as the staff left work. (They are not allowed to talk to us, we
are such a danger!). Several white unmarked buses took the workers away,
and we were left to savour the newly cut hayfield and the sight of a red
kite being mobbed by a crow in the sky. It was hard to image that so
much beauty could co-exist alongside the potential for such unimaginable
death, destruction and ongoing suffering.
We left Burghfield, knowing that as we drove away on what
had become a beautiful summer’s evening, we had been a very strong
presence, demonstrating for peace, and against eh assembling and use of