Protest over nuclear weapons at base
PROTESTORS have staged a demonstration outside an American air base in Suffolk where they claim there are more than 100 nuclear weapons.Around 30 good-natured anti-nuclear campaigners attached banners yesterday to the fence of the massive RAF Lakenheath base currently used by the USAF.
PROTESTORS have staged a demonstration outside an American air base in Suffolk where they claim there are more than 100 nuclear weapons.
Around 30 good-natured anti-nuclear campaigners attached banners yesterday to the fence of the massive RAF Lakenheath base currently used by the USAF.
The group, mainly from the Lakenheath Action Group and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, voiced their anger at what they see as the lack of transparency at the base, which they allege houses 110 nuclear bombs.
Protestor Mell Harrison, who performed a play called Theatre of War at the demonstration, claimed: "There are 110 B61 free fall bombs on this base which is run entirely by the Americans.
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"In their time here there have been two accidents in which they evacuated US personnel but didn't tell the local people.
"People living here should be aware of what they are bringing here. They fly them into the country and out on a regular basis. We want to see some openness and accountability.
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"They should leave Britain and take their nuclear weapons home with them. There is no need for them in the world but there is a call for co-operation and understanding."
Jacqui McCarney said: "I've been coming here ever since the Iraq war. The American weapons of mass destruction present a huge danger locally and to the world."
Inspector Peter McDonald of MOD police, who watched over the event, emerged from behind the rigorous base security to accept a letter from the demonstrators to be given to US base commander Brigadier General Robert Steel.
In the letter the Lakenheath Action Group pledged to continue protesting at the base until the nuclear weapons were taken from Europe.
A CND member since 1958, Jean Davis said she believed the campaign was beginning to see results.
"This is part of a Europe-wide gathering to get American nuclear weapons out of Europe," she said "There are 480 weapons on bases across Europe and 110 are here, this isn't an isolated protest."
Green party Norfolk county councillor Andrew Boswell, who made the trip from Norwich to voice his support for the demonstration, agreed: "The message is getting through. There is currently a debate on the British trident nuclear fleet and it is quite clear we don't need it anymore because the security threat we face is different."
MOD police spokesman Steve Partridge, said: "This was a planned protest and so we were aware of it and we always look to accommodate them wherever we can.
"About 40 protestors were at the base and it was well organised and didn't cause any problems. We did have one issue with two people who went up a closed road beside the base, which has been closed for some time for safety reasons.
"They were given a verbal warning and escorted back onto the highway. There were no arrests."