Pensioner in nuclear protest

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A GRANDMA for peace was arrested yet again after protesting against weapons of mass destruction.

Veteran campaigner Joan Meredith, 79, from Malpas, was taking part in the CND/Trident Ploughshares Big Blockade at the Aldermaston nuclear plant in Berkshire when she was arrested on Monday last week.

She was later charged with obstructing the highway. She has been ordered to appear at Reading court on December 12.

Joan, a retired teacher for the deaf, who has been arrested countless times because of standing up for her beliefs, said: “Producing nuclear weapons is illegal and contravenes the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Furthermore this government breaches the security of the British. Every citizen has a duty to protest against criminal behaviour of the State.”

Aldermaston is the headquarters of the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment. The AWE is responsible for the design and manufacture of the Trident submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile system.

It is the only place in the UK where nuclear bombs are manufactured. The AWE employs 4,000 people and is also involved in dismantling decommissioned nuclear weapons.

Scientists at Aldermaston also monitor earth movements all over the world to detect any underground explosions in an effort to police nuclear testing under the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

In the UK the name Aldermaston is synonymous with nuclear weapons and the emergence of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

It was the site of numerous protests in the 1950s and 1960s. CND, launched by the philosopher Bertrand Russell and Canon John Collins, grew out of a demonstration held outside Aldermaston during Easter 1956.

The newly formed CND held a protest march from London to Aldermaston in 1958. Subsequently it held annual marches from Aldermaston to London from 1959-63.

Although no longer in the headlines, protesters continue to be a presence at the site. They say Aldermaston is responsible for worrying environmental contamination, including the radioactive pollution of the Thames.

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