Report on Easter Saturday Demonstration in London

14 April 2001

from: Carol Naughton (CND Vice-Chair) & Dave Webb

It was a lively, peaceful action with something for everyone! About 1000 people took part with guest visits from Tony Blair and Darth Vadar and messages of support from MEP Caroline Lucas, author Iain Banks and actor Emma Thompson. There were people and banners from all over the country and the bright yellow CND banner saying 'Just Say No to Star Wars' stood out vividly, telling all bewildered tourists what it was all about.

The demonstration was organised by the UK National Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and supported by a number of political and campaigning groups.

People came to London from all over the country and joined to make this one of the biggest anti Star Wars demonstrations seen in the UK to date.

Socialist groups joined with peace groups and members of anti-globalisation campaigns to protest strongly and loudly against any possible government decision to allow the US to deploy Star Wars installations in the UK.

The chilly, grey day was brightened by some street theatre that showed the US military and aerospace corporations responsible for Star Wars wooing the British Prime Minister with bribes and promises.

The action began with a delegation from the US consisting of a well known Texan Oil Millionaire, two US Army Generals and representatives from Multinational Defence Corporations meeting 'Tony Blair' outside Downing Street. They were seen to persuade him to sign various contracts and I do believe a substantial amount of dollars changed hands.

However into this disgraceful scene came the rescue party. CND saved the day and, after intense lobbying by Dave (Knight) and Carol (Naughton), Blair tore the money up and declared he would not allow British bases to be used to support Star Wars.

On the opposite side of the road among the hundreds of demonstrators Blair was again forced by the Arms Dealers to sign away Fylingdales and Menwith Hill and took the Union Jack out of Yorkshire to be replaced by the Stars and Stripes. Once again, to cheers from the crowd, Blair was persuaded that Missile Defence is not the way to create real Global Security and the CND flag was flown over Yorkshire on the huge map of Britain.

Other street theatre was presented in the form of a giant Darth Vadar made and operated by a group from Youth CND.

Guy Taylor from Globalise Resistance and Carol Naughton, CND Vice Chair spoke of the lunacy of Star Wars and of the need to keep the pressure up on Tony Blair through all our actions to force him to refuse permission to allow UK bases to be used for Missile Defence. Bruce Kent spoke on the importance of all of us working together and Dave Knight, CND Chair, finished the speeches by declaring it was time for action. He said we had blockaded Faslane and now it was time to be on the other side of the road and led the way to a blockade of Downing Street.

This turned into a spontaneous action and people from all different organisations blocked Whitehall around Downing Street with the huge Youth and Student CND Darth Vadar puppet towering over all. It looked brilliant and was an extremely effective blockade. The police were caught totally unprepared but took a relaxed attitude and the whole thing was fun, noisy and completely non-violent. Just when the police were starting to complain that people wouldn't move, everyone did and an impromptu march set off, led by the puppet, up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.

A light drizzle did not dampen the demonstrators' spirits and there was no violence and no arrests.

There was a fair amount of press interest and many press photographers. Thanks to all who came and everyone who worked hard to make it such a success. This action was another successful event in our continuing campaign against Missile Defence and the US development of domination through, and of, space.

(See also: Call for Action;
BBC press report)

Home Page