4 February 2013
Peace Activists target UK’s Nuclear Hypocrisy
Yorkshire CND

www.yorkshirecnd.org.uk

Sylvia Boyes (far right behind the banner), spent two nights in police custody in July last year when she hung a ‘Give Peace a Chance’ banner outside the Faslane Nuclear Submarine Base in Scotland. Sylvia and a fellow campaigner from the Faslane Peace Camp, decorated the North Gate with banners and blockaded the entrance, refusing to allow entry to a cyclist and a delivery man.


In the early hours of this morning (Monday 3rd February) two peace activists, Sylvia Boyes and Mary Millington were arrested attempting to enter Faslane home to the UK’s nuclear submarines.

Their actions come a week after David Cameron pledged to increase defence spending including investment in nuclear weapons. The Ministry of Defence also admitted that chancellor George Osborne is already signing off millions of pounds worth of investment on nuclear submarines before a parliamentary decision on the issue is to be taken[i].

Sylvia Boyes, a long term term Peace Activist and member of Trident Ploughshares[ii] said:

“When the government of my country fails in its democratic duty to disseminate the necessary information to initiate real debate on nuclear weapons how can I continue not to act? The building work and development for the Trident replacement at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment continues unabated despite the government saying no decision is to be made until the next Parliament in 2015. We here in the UK must face up to our role in the silent acceptance of the proliferation of weapons of mass murder and mass destruction.

I remain convinced that all nuclear weapons are weapons of mass murder and mass destruction and are therefore illegal under international laws of war. This is not a one off action but one of many to create a climate of opinion to enable the government to take part in real disarmament negotiations. My banner ‘Nuclear Disarmament if not now, when?” is asking that question for us all to answer”

Large protests are expected in April this year at both Aldermaston and Faslane as campaigners continue to press for a real debate on nuclear weapons and to scrap plans for over £100bn to be spent on a Trident Replacement system.

On learning of their arrest Dave Webb, Chair of CND[iii], commented:

“At a time when people are suffering the consequences of such brutal cuts to welfare and social services – the government needs to take action on its choices for spending. Why is the government so intent on wasting billions of pounds on useless nuclear weapons while citizens suffer severe economic hardship? It is hardly surprising that citizens like Sylvia and Mary become so frustrated with the lack of progress that they feel they have to personally challenge the tragic waste of money and morally indefensible Trident system.”

For further details contact Dominic Linley at Dominic@yorkshirecn.org.uk or on 01274 730 795 / 07939 143 698


[i] http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/31/trident-uk-military-shopping-list

[ii] Trident Ploughshares is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a non-violent, open, peaceful and fully accountable manner http://www.tridentploughshares.org/

[iii] Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe's biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK.  CND campaigns for the abolition of nuclear weapons everywhere. www.cnduk.org
 


Sylvia's Statement

FASLANE FEBRUARY 3rd 2013

I would like to explain my reasons and state of mind at the time of my entering the Faslane nuclear submarine base.

I have been a campaigner against war in general and nuclear weapons in particular for over 30 years. Peace with justice cannot be brought about by violence; in fact violence creates more violence.

I remain convinced that all nuclear weapons are weapons of mass murder and mass destruction and are therefore illegal under international laws of war. They are immoral because of the terrible suffering they will cause, not only when used but to future generations. They are a terrible waste of resources which are so much needed for human welfare.

Successive governments have not encouraged or enabled debate on such a serious matter which so affects us all.

The building work and development for the Trident replacement at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment continues unabated despite the government saying no decision is to be made until the next Parliament in 2015.

In magistrates courts and crown courts, at more times than I care to remember, evidence has been given in my defence to prove the illegality of all nuclear weapons. Experts with greater knowledge and finer minds have laid the facts to the court. To no avail except in a few cases where the judge ruled that the defendants had a defence but not that Trident was illegal.

I am particularly being lead to take action at this time because of the recent Holocaust Memorial Day events. The Nazis dehumanized the Jews and other groups before sending them into the gas chambers.

I draw parallels between the horrors of the concentration camps and our general acceptance of war and nuclear weapons. No one today can say they do not know of the effects of any nuclear bomb being fired. It must be acknowledged that the continued possession and deployment of these horrendous weapons entails the creation of enemies and implies a willingness to be one of those groups that would allow suffering to be inflicted on another group on an unprecedented scale, both immediately and in the longer term; a suffering from which none would escape.

When the government of my country fails in its democratic duty to disseminate the necessary information to initiate debate on such a vital issue how can I not continue to act. I am a mother with six grandchildren. No nuclear weapons have been used in war since 1945 but they are in use being deployed 365 days a year and if maintained will one day be used. How can I think of the future and not take action against these evil weapons. The German people took many years before facing up to the horrors of the concentration camps. We here in the UK must face up to our role in the silent acceptance of the use of weapons of mass murder and mass destruction.

In being at Faslane I think of the submariners acting on our behalf and the words of a Greenham song “And now underground they do not see the eyes of the dying.”
My action is a straightforward statement that the continued possession of nuclear weapons is not in my name,in solidarity with anti-nuclear activists all around the world, I can say with conviction that this is not a one off action but one of many to create a climate of opinion to enable the government to take part in real disarmament negotiations. My banner NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT IF NOT NOW, WHEN is asking that question for us all to answer


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