Christians 'turn the tables' on UK's nuclear weapons

By staff writers
March 30, 2015

Seven Christians have this morning (30 March) been forcibly removed from a gateway to Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire. They were marking Holy Week by disrupting production of the UK's nuclear arsenal.

This followed an ecumenical vigil for peace held yesterday, Palm Sunday, at the nearby Aldermaston facility.

Arriving at 6:30am today, the Christians chained their hands together and lay in the gateway, preventing vehicles from entering the base. The site was disrupted for three hours as the police struggled to remove them.

Having travelled from across the country, the Christian protesters were also among those who processed and prayed around the perimeter of AWE Aldermaston yesterday to mark Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The blockade is the latest in an increasingly frequent series of actions against Trident as the General Election approaches. Earlier this month, protesters staged a singing flashmob in the Lobby of Parliament, singing about their opposition to Trident.

The protesters say that the prayer vigil and blockade are inspired by the events of Holy Week, when Jesus turned over tables in the Temple, confronting the political and military powers of his day.

The timing is significant in both the church and political calendar. Those gathered are calling on the Church to enter Holy Week remembering and repenting of the sin of the nuclear weapons industry.

As Parliament dissolves today in preparation for the General Election, they hope MPs will return to their constituencies accompanied by the message that Trident renewal is a vote loser. Polls consistently show a majority of the British public to be opposed to Trident renewal at a time of cuts to public services.

“Nuclear weapons are a threat to everything I believe in: peace, justice, and the wellbeing of creation," said Jo Frew, who was involved in both the vigil and the blockade.

Frew, a member of the United Reformed Church, added, "We see in Jesus’ actions a clear imperative that faith compels us to act. That is why we are here today to call for an end to the atomic weapons industry and for Trident not to be replaced.”

Parliament will make a decision on Trident renewal in 2016. Thecost of renewal is estimated to be up to £100 billion. Critics point out that Trident is not an 'independent' system, but is dependent on technical support from the US.

* More on the issues in the 2015 General Election from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/generalelection2015

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