Friends arrested at Burghfield

Three Quakers were arrested during the 'No Faith in Trident' day of action

Friends blockading the gates. | Photo: Chris Gwyntopher.

Three Quakers were arrested at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield on 27 June for their part in a nonviolent action outside the gates of the factory near Reading during ‘No Faith in Trident’ Day.

The Friends were Jo Frew, an attender at Tottenham Meeting, Sam Donaldson, an attender at Hull Meeting, and Ellis Brooks, an attender at Wandsworth Meeting. They had locked and superglued themselves to each other and lain in front of the gates to the base in order to prevent vehicles entering.

About thirty Quakers took part in the ‘faith day’ of action at Burghfield. John Lynes, from Sussex East Area Meeting, and Hannah Brock were also among those who took part in the peace witness.

All three entrances to the factory were blocked for over an hour, from 6.30am, before police arrested five blockaders at the ‘Mearings’ gate to let traffic into the base. The three Friends were arrested under military by-laws at the construction gate after blockading the gate for nearly six hours. They were taken to Newbury police station.

A vigil was held throughout the day on the grass verge next to the north Mearings entrance. Over fifty people gathered in support of those taking nonviolent direct action and in opposition to the work of the factory.

The groups blocking the other two entrances were the Catholic Worker and Christian affinity group Put Down the Sword. Represen-tatives of other faith groups and organisations taking part in the ‘No Faith in Trident’ Day held prayers, songs, workshops and reflections. The groups included the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Christian CND, Pax Christi, Anglican Peace Fellowship, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Wake Up and London Catholic Workers.

Most of the Quakers and other faith groups and organisations came to offer prayers and support. Friends came locally from Reading Meeting as well as from Oxfordshire, London, Gloucestershire and as far away as Stockport. A Meeting for Worship was held at 11am.

Friends also took part in other days of action throughout the month. Many of the Friends taking part in the nonviolent direct action had slept the previous night at Reading Meeting House.

The ‘No Faith In Trident’ Day was part of a month of action at Burghfield nuclear weapons factory in the run up to the government’s final decision on the replacement of Trident that will be made later this year.

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