Manchester students part of “largest anti-nuclear demonstration for a generation”


Anti-nuclear protestors from Manchester joined tens of thousands of campaigners in London this Saturday at the Stop Trident rally to dissent against government plans to build a new nuclear weapons system.

People of all ages gathered at the rally, organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). A strong Scottish contingent was distinguishable beneath the banners, and the sound of bagpipes encouraged demonstrators on through the city.

Many there appeared to be regular attendees at such events, with t-shirts and badges simultaneously highlighting commitments to other causes. One protestor, who had travelled from Wales, toldthe Mancunion how she had been involved with CND since the 80s and continued coming to anti-nuclear demonstrations to voice her view that such weapons are “illegal, immoral, and a waste of money”.

Others were newer to protesting. One woman revealed that she had previously been in the RAF, at times working with nuclear weapons, but had since changed her views on nuclear weaponry. This was her first protest, which she had chosen to attend in the belief that “we all have to do something”.

The march ended in Trafalgar Square where members of CND and ‘MPs Against Trident’ stood beneath Nelson’s Column as protestors filled the square. Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, rallied the crowd by describing the event as “the largest anti-nuclear demonstration for a generation”—a statement later echoed in the Guardian—before introducing speakers that included leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon, chair of CND and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and leftist writer Tariq Ali.

The Conservative government argues that replacing Trident will help create jobs and protect the UK’s security but those speaking criticised the plan – that will cost an estimated £167bn – for making the country more vulnerable and using money that would be better spent elsewhere, such as on the NHS and schools.

Sturgeon questioned how the UK could expect to persuade other countries to disarm whilst it continued to itself own nuclear weapons. Lucas, referring to Trident as “a reckless vanity project that makes us less safe not more safe,” argued for greater investment in environmental issues to increase national and global security.

Thousands march in London against nuclear arms

Thousands have marched through London to oppose the renewal of the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system in what demonstrators describe as the biggest such rally in a generation.

Waving placards and banners, the protesters offered their opposition Saturday ahead of a final government decision on whether to replace the current generation of submarines that carry the nuclear warheads.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense says getting the new submarines will cost £31 billion (US$43 billion) over a 20-year procurement program, together with another £10 billion for unexpected cost increases. Supporters believe Trident is critical to national security, but Labour’s long-held support is now in doubt, as leader Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to such weapons.


UK: Thousands join anti-nuclear rally


Thousands have gathered in central London at a rally against the renewal of the U.K.’s Trident nuclear weapons system.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also attended the protest organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) Saturday.

Thousands carried placards reading “NHS not Trident”, “Cut War Not Welfare” and “Homes not Trident” marched from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square. They also chanted slogans against renewal of the weapons system.

Sturgeon told Anadolu Agency that this was an opportunity to make their voices heard. “Trident should not be renewed, Trident should be scraped,” she said.

CND Vice President Bruce Kent said there is “no argument” for the project.

“Public opinion is actually against spending 150 billion pounds [$208 billion] or more in nuclear weapons,” Kent added.

Roger McKenzie, assistant general-secretary at UNISON, emphasized that government spending had other priorities like the NHS and public services.

Trident is the U.K.’s sea-based nuclear weapons system comprised of three parts: submarines, missiles and warheads. There are four trident submarines.

Thousands join anti-nuclear weapons march in London

Tens of thousands of people protested in London on Saturday, February 27, against the proposed renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system, in what supporters said was the biggest such demonstration in a generation.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) since he was 16, addressed the crowd in Trafalgar Square alongside Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“If a nuclear war took place there would be mass destruction on both sides of the conflict. Everyone should think about the humanitarian effects on people across this globe if they’re ever used,” Corbyn said.

Protesters converged on London from around Britain and CND claimed that 60,000 people joined the march. AFP reporters estimated the numbers in the low tens of thousands, while police would not give an estimate.

Corbyn said he was proud to attend “the largest anti-nuclear weapons rally in a generation,” adding that it was “an expression of many people’s opinions and views.”

A decision is expected to be taken later this year on replacing the ageing submarines which carry the Trident missiles, at an estimated cost of £31 billion (39 billion euros, $43 billion).