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Protest to end spending on weapons

Projecting the message: One of many signs protesting against the use of drones
Projecting the message: One of many signs protesting against the use
of drones

AS PEOPLE across the world marked the UN International Day of Peace (Sept 21), about 150 people from across south and mid Wales gathered at Parc Aberporth (Blaenannerch). 

The event, the brainchild of local woman Kate Sherringer, took the form of a symbolic ‘Drape the Drones’ and ‘Wool against Weapons’ action. Speakers Jill Evans MEP (Plaid Cymru), Jim Scott (Pembrokeshire Green Party), Sue Lent (Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council) and Jill Gough (CND Cymru) all called for an end to militarism, and a halt to plans to spend £100billion of taxpayer’s money on replacing Trident – the British nuclear weapons system. Jill Evans MEP said: “War technology, of course, changes constantly but what does not change is the use of our country to test and practise for war. Aberporth is where drones have been developed for a multimillion Ministry of Defence programme – not a fact we can be proud of. Wales can help build a better world by contributing to peace and development.”

Jim Scott of the Green Party emphasised the damage caused to the environment caused by wars, arms build-up and militarism he said: “Technology is being used by governments and big oil companies to control and exploit vulnerable regions in the world, perpetuate instability and war, and disconnect us from the act of killing by conducting it remotely. We must redress and reverse the environmental damage caused by this approach before it is too late.” Sue Lent of Cardiff City Council, a long time campaigner for peace and justice said that she and her family had been visiting Wales for decades on holiday but had always considered the military sites near Aberporth as a blot on the landscape which spoiled an otherwise exceptionally beautiful area. CND Cymru National Secretary Jill Gough said: “It is time to work on alternative, non-violent ways of conflict resolution and we want Ceredigion, and the rest of Wales to be part of the solution – not part of the problem.

Here, where people are forced to use food banks and to seek help to pay energy bills, while £billions is spent annually on armaments, it is time to reconsider our priorities. The Peace Scarf shows just how passionate ordinary people everywhere are about nuclear disarmament. However symbolic the action, when people find their voice, they speak out. If we fail to abolish nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons will abolish us.” Music provided by Côr Gobaith (Aberystwyth), St Dogmaels Community Choir and Côr Cochion Caerdydd, and poetry by Paul Hawkes and Dave Rendle (Cardigan), Katy Beddoe (Newport Gwent) and Patrick Dobbs (Llandovery) was followed by a moving reading of the Waldo Williams poem Y Tangnefeddwyr by Megan Williams (Glandŵr Pembrokeshire). After a 2km locally knitted rainbow scarf had been unrolled around and across the entrance to Parc Aberporth and around the roads and the adjacent roundabout, people stood in a very moving two minutes silence, to remember all victims of war.

Over 100 signatures were collected on a giant postcard to David Cameron calling on him to follow 19th Century Tregaron born Welsh MP Henry Richard in his work towards International Arbitration instead of violent conflict. The day had been preceded by a colourful and musical lead-up event outside Cardigan Guild Hall. Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire peace campaigners will be meeting on the Global Action Day against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing to fly kites on Poppit Sands at 12pm.

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Dayne Stone

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