Socialist Worker

Anti-nuclear protesters surround Ministry of Defence

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2438

Protesters outside the Ministry of Defence

Protesters outside the Ministry of Defence (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Up to 2,000 people marched through London last Saturday against the renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons.

The government has tried to push discussion of the £100 billion project into the next parliament. 

But the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and Green Party forced a vote with an opposition day debate last week.

Only 37 out of 401 MPs who attended voted against renewal. The Labour Party leadership supported renewal, while most Labour MPs abstained—only 19 voted against. The last time there was a vote on Trident in 2007, 95 Labour MPs rebelled against the then Labour government.

Protesters assembled for the Wrap Up Trident protest where they symbolically surrounded Ministry of Defence (MoD) with a seven-mile long knitted scarf. 

They then marched down to parliament to chants of “Wrap up Trident—ban the bomb now”. 

The angry demonstration, called by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), attracted many people new to politics.

Laura got involved after the New Era housing protests in Hackney, east London. “I’ve only been involved for four months, but nuclear weapons make me so angry,” she told Socialist Worker. 

“How many people in government are set to benefit from arms deals?”  

Protesters made links with the fight against austerity. A group of students came from Essex University. Josh said, “Trident is undoubtedly the biggest waste of money. 

“We should be spending it on things such as welfare and using it to fund free education—a major issue for students.”

But the biggest issue was the NHS, and placards included, “A&E not WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction]” and “Nurses not Nukes”. 

Rebecca, a college student from Hertfordshire, said, “I’ve got a lot of family who work in the NHS and lots of people need to access health care but can’t get it.” 

Many people were also furious about Labour. Laura said, “I now support the Green Party because I want a real left, not a pretend left like Labour”. 

This shows how Trident can strike a chord in the run-up to the general election.

Marchers held a rally next to parliament. 

Speakers included Kate Hudson from CND, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Heather Wakefield from Unison, Lindsey German from Stop the War, Shahrar Ali from the Green Party and Khalil Charles from the Muslim Association of Britain. 

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Tue 27 Jan 2015, 16:09 GMT
Issue No. 2438
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