Pat Sanchez from Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group lay down in the road outside the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire this morning (Monday 15 February 2010), calling for money to be spent on social care not nuclear weapons. She and other women blockaders from Trident Ploughshares, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp successfully blockaded the so called ‘Home Office’ gate which is used by contractors working on the development of new nuclear weapons.
Pat a retired school teacher from Blackstone Edge Old Road, Littleborough joined hundreds of campaigners attempting to prevent work on the site, blocking every gate with Ghandi-style sit-down protests from 7am in the morning. They aimed to halt the construction of multi-billion pound facilities designed to allow for the development of a new generation of nuclear warheads. Spending on new facilities at AWE has increased seventeen-fold over the past decade, from £24million in 2000 to £420million in 2009 (see http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2005-10-31c.22020.h and http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2010-01-29a.313384.h ).
Pat Sanchez said,
“We are pleased to have halted work at this evil bomb factory for even a few hours, but we want it closed for ever. The Aldermaston site is being used to develop ever more deadly nuclear warheads. Aldermaston is not just the place where these evil weapons of mass destruction are manufactured, it is the heart of a very dangerous beast; the place the tools for the potential annihilation of millions of people are being developed on a massive scale.
At a time of economic crisis, when care homes are being closed in Rochdale and services cut, because of a lack of funds it is scandalous that £billions are being squandered on new facilities at Aldermaston. Trident is a Cold War weapons system which does nothing to protect Britain from any threat we face today, yet it is the one item that has been excluded from reconsideration in the government's Defence Review. Our politicians need wake up to the fact that opinion polls now consistently show a majority against spending £76billion or more on Trident Replacement. We want our taxes spent on decent public services, not on a means to spread death and destruction across our planet. Nuclear weapons are immoral, illegal and a hideous misuse of public funds. Rochdale and the rest of the country needs 'Nurses not Nukes'; 'Treatment not Trident'.”
Pat is no stranger to direct action against nuclear weapons. She is a veteran of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp which achieved the removal of US Cruise missiles from Britain in 1991. She has been arrested several times for blockading at the Faslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland and was part of an equally successful blockade at Aldermaston in October 2008.
Philip Gilligan on behalf of Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group said,
“Pat is an inspiration to us all and a woman that everyone in Rochdale should be very proud of. She recognises the cruel reality of the nuclear weapons being manufactured and developed at Aldermaston and takes immediate and direct, non-violent, action to halt this madness wherever she can. Pat and Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group will be in Yorkshire Street, again, on Saturday 6 March 2010 collecting signatures for CND’s petition saying 'No To Trident. Yes to a Nuclear Weapons Convention'.”
For more information about Pat’s previous direct action at both Aldermaston and Faslane, please see