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Eight campaigners arrested at airbase

PUBLISHED: 09:13 03 October 2006 | UPDATED: 17:10 25 February 2010

EIGHT people were arrested yesterday after peace campaigners broke into a Suffolk airbase and chained themselves to the gate of its alleged ammunitions area.

EIGHT people were arrested yesterday after peace campaigners broke into a Suffolk airbase and chained themselves to the gate of its alleged ammunitions area.

The protest by members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) followed a large rally outside RAF Lakenheath on Sunday attended by more than 200 people.

Yesterday's incident, which occurred at 8am, aimed to highlight the campaign against stockpiles of nuclear weapons and cluster bombs, which are claimed to be stored at the American base.

The activists, who mostly come from Norfolk and Suffolk, were cut down by Ministry of Defence (MoD) police and taken to Newmarket and Mildenhall police stations following their arrest for criminal trespass.

A MoD spokesman said the two men and six women were arrested under Section 128 of the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act, but at no point did they breach militarily sensitive areas.

Mell Harrison, 35, from Bungay, who organised the lock-on, said while chained to the access gate that the “non-violent direct action” was necessary to highlight the alleged shipment of cluster bombs from USAF bases to conflict zones such as Israel and Lebanon.

“It is a shame that we have to go this far to get the issue across,” she said. “The protest on Sunday was absolutely fantastic and was the biggest demonstration the base has ever seen, but there were people who wanted to bring real attention that cluster bombs are being held in this area.

“By preventing access to these weapons, we are securing freedom's future.”

About 20 personnel were trapped inside the secure area for more than three hours, but the demonstration and response of the authorities was “very calm”, added Mrs Harrison.

The other CND campaigners arrested included Irene Willis, 61, from Essex, Emma Bateman, 39, from Leicester, Lesley Anderson, 24, from Scotland, and Lesley Grahame, 47, Margaret Moss, 56, Richie Rushmer, 37, and Peter Lux, 44, from Norwich.


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