Employees of the arms company Lockheed Martin experienced a surprise seasonal visit when fourteen activists turned up in festive costume to sing “updated” carols.
The singers described their modified lyrics as “messages of peace and condemnation” and focused on the company's central role in manufacturing the UK's Trident nuclear weapons.
In addition to serenading the company outside its London offices, the singers displayed banners and distributed hundreds of leaflets to passers-by, many of whom stopped to sign a petition against Trident.
The renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system has been heavily criticised by churches, faith groups and NGOs. A number of opinion polls in recent months have suggested that it is also opposed by the majority of the British public.
“Christmas is a time of year when we would all do well to reflect on what we personally can do to bring about peace and justice in the world in these increasingly troubled times” said one of the activists, Daniel Viesnik.
The singers included members and supporters of Trident Ploughshares, Catholic Worker, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Kingston Peace Council and the World March for Peace and Nonviolence.
Viesnik said, “As politicians from around the world negotiate in Copenhagen for a new treaty to avert climate catastrophe, we must not forget that the many thousands of nuclear weapons that still exist in the world could wipe out humanity and destroy the biosphere in a flash”.
He added that the singers welcomed initiatives by US President Obama and others towards international agreements on cuts to nuclear weapons, but insisted that “the UK must show leadership by taking its submarines off patrol and abandoning its Trident nuclear white elephants.”
The UK's nuclear weapons have become even more controversial in recent months due to the recession, with a report by Greenpeace suggesting that Trident renewal would cost nearly five times as much as the £20 billion estimated by the government.