On a very sunny Saturday in January some of our affinity group met up in London to take part in the ‘Wrap up Trident’ event organised by CND and Action AWE. The first part of the day we joined in with was a service for peace at St Martin in the Fields Church. Encouragingly there were too many people to comfortably fit into the crypt and so we all moved upstairs into the main church where we sang and prayed for peace. Following that we gathered on the steps outside the church facing Trafalgar Square and unrolled many metres of the Knitted Pink Peace Scarf while listening to statements for peace and against nuclear weapons, read out from different Christian denominations and other faiths also. The passers by seemed interested in what was going on, taking the leaflets that were being handed out, and I did hear some shouts of support and encouragement!
The pink peace scarf is a 7 mile long creative protest organised by Wool Against Weapons (http://www.woolagainstweapons.co.uk/) which many people have beautifully contributed to over the past few years. The length of 7 miles is the distance between Aldermaston and Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishments (AKA the UK’s nuclear bomb factories) near Reading, and the scarf was used to stage a demonstration that stretched between these two places in August 2014.
So on the 24th January it was being used again – this time to be wrapped around the Ministry of Defence building, symbolising the demand of the people present for the government to ‘Wrap up Trident’ and not renew the UK’s nuclear missile system (which will cost £100billion).
Visually it was amazing to see as we walked along carrying our bit of the scarf from St Martin’s Church to the Houses of Parliament, via the MOD, sometimes having to run to catch up with the people in front of us to make sure the metre long lengths of knitting which had been carefully stitched together did not break apart! Holding the scarf my hands were the warmest they’ve ever been during a winter protest!
Alongside the scarf procession were lots of people holding placards with very sensible things written on them, for example ‘NHS not Trident’ ‘Education not Trident’ etc…..
We all made it to Westminster where there were speakers and musicians. Unfortunately I was too far back to hear what was going on at this point, but I spent the time looking at the houses of Parliament saying some silent prayers, and talking to people I know and handing out flyers for our Palm Sunday peace vigil at Aldermaston (https://putdownthesword.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/turning-the-tables-on-trident-palm-sunday-prayers-for-peace/)
It’s a while since I’ve been on a large demo, but it felt good being with so many others who want to see the end of Trident and nuclear missiles in the world, and it was also an encouraging and energising start to a year of action against Trident replacement.
And what will become of the scarf? Well it’s being turned into people-sized blankets and distributed among those who need them both in the UK and overseas.
Burghfield Lockdown – A BIG BLOCKADE on Monday 2nd March 2015 from 7am, the aim is to nonviolently close AWE Burghfield and begin a month long campaign against Trident renewal. More information here: http://actionawe.org/topics/burghfieldlockdown/
See you there?