International Day of Protest

Report from: Fylingdales, UK

By Dave Webb
Photos by Aurel Duta


A car full of Yorkshire CNDers (and Aurel who just happened to be visiting from Rumania) drove from Bradford and Leeds to Whitby (nearest big town to Fylingdales) early(ish) on Saturday morning. On arrival we were met by local campaigners from the Fylingdales Action Network and we set up an information stall. By this time a group of about 15-20 protestors had already left to walk the 15 or so miles to the Fylingdales radar base.

It was a busy day in Whitby - the unusually good weather (for the time of year) and the recent relaxation of the foot-and-mouth restrictions had encouraged a large number of visitors to this lovely fishing town. The stall attracted a great deal of interest and support - a large number of people signed "No Star Wars" postcards to the Prime Minister. We had one heckler who kept calling "Taliban" - but he eventually took a few leaflets and gave up shouting at us.

Whitby is famous for its connection with Count Dracula - in the story it is the port through which he first arrives in England. It was appropriate therefore that Aurel was with us, having traveled to the UK from the Transylvania region (strangely enough - to get some dental work carried out!).

After a couple of hours leafleting and talking to people we packed up the stall and headed for the base. Since Sept 11 there has been an increased police presence at the main gate, Some of the police there had been drafted in from Somerset (at the opposite end of the country) but they were all very cheerful and friendly and showed some interest in our information leaflets.

A few of us went for a short walk around the base and were dutifully kept an eye on by the security police. People joined us throughout the afternoon as we waited for the walkers to arrive. At about 3pm we stood in line across the base entrance for 3 minutes silence in remembrance of those who have already lost their lives, and those who will be killed by bombs, bullets or starvation if we do not stop the war in Afghanistan. We also thought about the 100 plus other protests that were taking place at this time all over the world.


We had intended to make contact with the demonstration at Menwith Hill via mobile phone. However, the two bases are about 60-70 miles apart in remote areas of Yorkshire and although a number of us had mobile phones -  we couldn't make a connection. Neither could we keep in touch with the approaching walkers. However, the police knew where they were every step of the way and kept us in touch with where they were! They wouldn't tell us how they new - but they have a number of cars patrolling the base and various people stationed at strategic points with binoculars etc.

Eventually, at about 4.30pm the walkers arrived - looking tired but happy. They had brought with them a bag of  white poppies (usually distributed by the Peace Pledge Union around Remembrance Day - in recognition of the people who will die if we fail to stop future war - and to contrast with the familiar red poppies that are distributed by the British Legion in remembrance of those who lost their lives in past wars). After a few words of greeting the marchers attached the poppies to a black ribbon and stretched it across the road at the entrance of the base as a final statement.



(More photographs by Aurel Duta - from http://photos.yahoo.com/aurel_duta/)



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