Modern day suffragettes demand the UK sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Modern day suffragettes demand the UK sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Trident Ploughshares organised an afternoon at the Houses of Parliament.


June 2018.

On Wednesday 20th campaigners from Yorkshire CND were among the protestors who chained themselves to railings outside parliament. They are calling on the UK to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Below the article by Angie Zelter from Trident Ploughshares.

At precisley1.30p.m, during Prime Ministers Question time, around 50 people converged to chain themselves to the railings. Opposite Portcullis House they were very visible to MPs and their staff. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out to passing tourists who were asked if their countries had signed the Treaty. The police were informed that there was no need to arrest us as we were only chained to prevent our removal whilst MPs were contacted and invited to speak with us, we were peaceful and would leave at 5p.m. We were able to remain all afternoon and then proceeded to Parliament Square for our de-brief. Ably supported by Yorkshire CND, who printed the white t-shirts, and CND Cymru, who managed to persuade 3 of their MPs to come out, we had a very succesful afternoon raising the issue of global nuclear disarmament. We were supported by around 60 others, including a choir from Knighton in Powys. We were calling for the UK to Sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and disarm Trident. Echoing similar actions by women’s suffrage campaigners one hundred years ago we highlighted the current democratic deficit of the refusal by the UK to abide by international law and dismantle their weapons of mass destruction. We chained ourselves along thirteen sections of railings stretching from Big Ben to Parliament Square and hung banners saying “Denuclearize the World – Sign the Treaty”, “Trident Terrorises”, “Sign the Treaty! Ratify! That’s the kind of safety money can’t buy”.

The chained activists called up their MPs inviting them to come out and explain why the UK was not signing this multi-lateral treaty when over many decades the UK Government had said they would support multi-lateral disarmement. Nearly fifty years ago the UK and other nuclear weapons states promised to negotiate to disarm their nuclear weapons and their failure to keep that promise and their continued preparations to use these horrific weapons has led countries like North Korea and Israel to acquire them. Now, when most countries have agreed a UN treaty to abolish nuclear weapons, the UK is actively undermining that process. 5 MPs from the Greens, Labour and Plaid Cymru came out to support us and their videoed interviews can be seen here. Trident Ploughshares is planning more actions this year in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and hopes to continue working collaboratively with CND groups around the country.
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  • Angie Zelter