For immediate release
Early this morning members of Christian peace groups blocked the 3 entrances to AWE Burghfield using super glue and arm tubes. 14 men and women, aged between 20 and 80, six of them Quakers and others from faith groups Put DownThe Sword and the London Catholic Worker lay in the road to symbolically prevent the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Alongside the protests, which may lead to arrests, people from local Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Sikh groups gathered to pray outside the base for the victims of war, and will maintain their witness all day.
This ‘No Faith In Trident’ day is part of a month of action at nuclear weapons factory Burghfield AWE in the run up to the government’s final decision on the replacement of Trident later this year. Trident – Britain’s current nuclear weapons system – will soon be redundant, and leading anti-nuclear groups and academics saying that replacing it will cost over £205 billion over its lifetime.
One of those taking part said “I cannot walk by as this government wastes billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction, capable of killing millions of people. Feeling truly secure comes in our day-to-day lives, knowing we have access to healthcare and housing when we need it, not in the production of nuclear bombs. As a Christian I believe that there is that of God in every person. As such, any use of these weapons is immoral. The majority of the British people are against them, and the government must heed that”.
Faith leaders have repeatedly called for the abandonment of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons programme. In 2015, 26 faith leaders made a statement calling on all states to ‘make good their commitment to negotiations on the universal, legally verifiable and enforceable elimination of nuclear weapons’.
Another participant said: “In these last turbulent weeks we’ve witnessed the impacts of nationalism and fear of our international neighbours. Britain has signed a treaty to say it will work with others to free the world of nuclear weapons. This government is morally and legally obliged to scrap Trident, and I’m here to remind them of that”
Notes for editors
Contact: Mirjam Johansson: 07852924224 or Pat Gaffney 07443952438
Follow @YFGMvsTrident on Twitter for updates
The month of action is organised by Trident Ploughshares tridentploushares.org
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has calculated that replacing Trident cost at least £205 billion. See http://www.cnduk.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2447&Itemid=26
The UK government has an armed nuclear submarine on patrol and ready to fire at all times, with the ability to wipe out cities almost anywhere on earth within 15 minutes. The UK government has a stockpile of around 225 nuclear warheads, each with eight times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, that killed an estimated 140,000 to 200,000 people. Running the Trident nuclear weapons system currently costs £2 billion a year and has not seen any of the cutbacks facing other government spending and public services.
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons commits the British government to disarmament. It was ratified by Britain in 1968.
See UK multi-faith statement on nuclear weapons – 2015: http://www.endnuclearweapons.org.uk/index.htm
Polls consistently show that well over half of the British public are opposed to the renewal of Trident. See http://www.cnduk.org/campaigns/no-to-trident/opinion-polls
London Catholic Worker 49 Mattison Road Harringay London N4 1BG tel: 020 8 348 8212 London Catholic Worker website:http://www.londoncatholicworker.org