Today protesters gathered in their thousands calling for the government to ‘Stop Fooling with Nuclear Weapons’. The demonstration was held at the British Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire.
They were protesting against the £100bn being spent on replacing trident and stressed better areas this large sum of money could be spent on. Education, Health and the Environment were among the most popular alternatives. The CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) claimed that the amount of money being spent on the replacement of Trident could lead to scrapping of university tuition fees for 30 years.
An array of high profile speakers were present on the day and rallied protestors by speaking about how outdated the British Nuclear programme is. Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, stated, “I cannot imagine a situation in which a British prime minister would fire one of these weapons – and our ownership of them only helps to support their continued presence elsewhere in the world.”
Kate Hudson, Secretary-General of the CND said, “We have until 2016 when a Parliamentary decision on Trident replacement is due to make clear to the government that jobs, healthcare, transport, education and renewable energy mean more to the people of this country than a strategically redundant, economically untenable, indiscriminate weapons system.”
Other speakers included Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington and Katharine Hamnett, fashion designer. Hamnett has designed two t-shirts to mark the event being held at Aldermaston today.
Her bold print designs have been iconic in past events such as her Anti-war design, “STOP THE WAR BLAIR OUT”. The two slogans designed for supporters today were “NHS NOT TRIDENT” and “EDUCATION NOT TRIDENT”.
Today’s protest marked the 55th anniversary of demonstrations held at the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston. In 1958 tens of thousands of protesters marched from London to Aldermaston in four days, with the same complaints protesters held today.
Two of the original organisers of the march were present today. Walter Wolfgang, most famous for his “nonsense!” remarks to Jack Straw at the Labour Party Conference in 2005, and Pat Arrowsmith.
Many of the protesters had lived through the Cold War, however there was a call for younger people to get involved with protest. Demonstrators noted that young people have a role in ensuring that the money spent on Trident is used in a better way.