Solidarity with Put Down the Sword

Our friends from the Put Down the Sword affinity group, who also took action with us at Burghfield last June, are on trial later in January.

Join their solidarity event on 25th January, find info here on Facebook, and below.

We’re sending them lots of love and solidarity, and will see them in court!


Back in June five members of Put Down the Sword were arrested “wilful obstruction of the highway” while blockading one of the entrances to AWE Burghfield, where the UK’s nuclear weapons are assembled. Two other affinity groups (from the Catholic Workers and Quakers) blockaded the other entrances meaning the whole site was shut to vehicles for a morning.

Put Down the Sword are in Reading Magistrates Court on 23rd, 25th and 26th January. We welcome supporters on any day, but are focussing on 25th January as the main day, and we’re putting on a series of seminars for those unable to get into the public gallery. The schedule for the day is as follows (although it will be flexible!)

9: Meet outside the court. Bring banners etc
11: Walk to RISC (10 mins)
11.30-12.30 How to bring change: exploring how to use direct action: Andrew Metheven, War Resisters’ International
1-2: Communal lunch with defendants
2-3: Jesus and non-violence: Woody Woodhouse, Methodist Minister
3-4: What next? Stop DSEI! Sarah Robinson, CAAT

We also have a solidarity fund to help with travel expenses etc for the defendants. Cash donations are welcome, or transfers to 08-92-86 17488437.

Direct action against nuclear weapons at AWE Burghfield

How did I come to be lying there at 6am on the cold hard concrete outside a factory in Berkshire making weapons of mass destruction, my left hand superglued to an 88 year old man called John, my right hand protected within a lock-on tube linked to a chain of four others lying down next to me?

I guess it was the result of a long, slow, process. The more I have been spending time with Christian-Anarchists, getting exposed to the writings of Dorothy Day and Dan Berrigan and others, and going deeper into my Quaker path, I have felt a growing challenge to embrace resistance to ‘the powers that be’ as an integral part of my spiritual journey. So, when my friend Hannah invited me to be a part of a Quaker non-violent blockade of the Burghfield weapons factory on the No Faith in Trident day (27 June 16), part of the month-long protest called for by Trident Ploughshares, I said “yes”.

Standing in a rich peace testimony

The whole thing has been a huge learning curve for me, lots of new experiences, from learning how to build lock-on tubes to getting arrested and now facing trial. At times its been quite unnerving, like going into the cell. At times its been very funny, like unlocking and walking past the police to go and pee. But overall, its been a growing, enriching experience for me and really great to do this as part of a Quaker team, knowing that this small action stands in a rich peace testimony going back hundreds of years.

by Sam Donaldson

Reposted with thanks to