Thousands surround British nuclear weapons factory in seven-mile-long ‘peace scarf’


Thousands surrounded a nuclear weapons complex in the United Kingdom to call for disarmament earlier this month. (Wool not Weapons)

Earlier this month, thousands of people staged a massive protest in the United Kingdom in which they surrounded a nuclear weapons factory complex in Berkshire with a “peace scarf” to advocate for nuclear disarmament.

The action drew such immense turnout that it took five hours to assemble the wool peace scarf, which ultimately stretched for more than seven miles. The thousands of people who took part in making and putting together the scarf were from across the U.K. and beyond. This protest was a response to the government’s plan to renew the Trident nuclear weapons program in 2016.

The action was coordinated by three U.K.-based groups: Wool Against WeaponsAction Atomic Weapon Eradication, and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Jaine Rose, the founder of Wool Against Weapons, connected the renewal of the Trident nuclear program to the violence in Gaza that has sparked massive protests over the last month. “We are seeing at the moment people are horrified at the escalating violence in Gaza. This is a time for people to have a voice to say no to violence and for countries to find other ways to create peace,” she stated.

Following the action, the scarf was broken down into blankets to donate to homeless shelters in the United Kingdom, an action that also seeks to connect the disarmament struggle to other movements, particularly the anti-austerity struggle in the U.K. The renewal of the Trident program is expected to cost the government about 100 billion pounds at a time that the government is imposing severe cuts to public funds and welfare programs. Organizers are hopeful, therefore, that this action will help draw attention to the multi-faceted damage that would be caused by the development of and investment into renewing nuclear weapons programs in the United Kingdom