A group of anti-nuclear campaigners assembled peacefully this afternoon in the central lobby of Parliament, risking arrest by taking part in an unauthorised demonstration.
The thirteen activists formed a circle in the lobby at 2.00 today, standing in silence. They are members of Trident Ploughshares, the Iona Community and Women in Black. They say they are protesting against the “illegal and undemocratic decision” to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system.
A decision on the next stage of Trident renewal is due in September, during the Parliamentary recess.
A range of churches, other faith groups, trades unions and NGOs have called for Trident not to be renewed. It is predicted that the renewal would cost £76 billion.
The Christian peace activist Angie Zelter is amongst those protesting in the lobby of Parliament. She called on the government to “get rid of its own weapons of mass terrorism”.
“Only a sincere and honest commitment to international law will bring the peace and justice the world needs to co-operate fully in solving the many crises, like climate chaos, that are confronting us” she added.
Liz Khan of Women in Black said “Given the current economic situation, blowing over £100bn on a useless weapon of mass destruction should surely be a matter for public scrutiny and debate. Our action today is part of the process of bringing this issue out into the open".
Over 160 MP s have now signed a motion calling for a Parliamentary debate before the next stage of decision-making on Trident, a call backed by the House of Commons' own Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
Kate Hudson, chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) describes Trident as “a system designed for the Cold War which has no relevance to the threats of the 21st century”.