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Hundreds block AWE - 33 arrested

tripodOn 27 October, hundreds of activists descended on AWE to join the blockade called by Trident Ploughshares.Some stretches of the surrounding roads were closed for more than 5 hours. 33 people were arrested, but few charged.

From 5.30am, autonomous affinity groups carried out sequential blockades, using concrete lock-ons, arm-tubes, tripods and numbers of bodies. Thames Valley Police's Rope Access Team (RATS) were kept busy until 11.30am cutting, drilling and hammering people out. Officers from Hampshire, the MDP and the Met were involved in the operation, with horses and a helicopter deployed during the day.

Over the course of the morning the police made 33 arrests, predominantly for obstruction of the highway and public order offences. Those arrested were taken as far afield as Slough and Abingdon, with Newbury and Loddon Valley police stations filled to capacity. A high proportion of those arrested were offered cautions or £30 fixed penalty notices.

Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp chalked up the least arrests per hour blockading, with just one woman being arrested for obstruction of the highway after taking to a tripod for three hours.

Showing up more than two hours after the tripod was erected, the RATS then took almost one hour to remove her. The arrestee was later released with a caution.

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This blockade was the latest in a long string of blockades and other direct action at AWE Aldermaston, in opposition to the base's key role in the replacement of the existing Trident warhead.

See news reports for coverage of previous actions.