Berkshire

Greenham Common peace camp 30th anniversary marked

  • 3 September 2011
  • From the section Berkshire
Peace camp members watch the last caravan leave in September 2000
Image caption Peace camp members watch the last caravan leave in September 2000

Women who protested at the US base at Greenham Common in the 1980s and 90s have returned to mark the 30th anniversary of the peace camp.

The first camp was set up on 5 September 1981 to raise awareness of plans to install nuclear Cruise missiles at the Berkshire base.

Some of the women have returned to the site - now a commemorative garden - for a film and talks.

The airbase was closed in 1993 but the camp remained until 2000.

The first missiles were delivered to Greenham Common in November 1983. The last one was removed in March 1991.

During the height of the protests, thousands of women blocked the entrances to the base, cut through perimeter fences and formed human chains around the site.

Author Fay Weldon, who was among the women who joined the protests, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There was a sense of sisterhood then.

"It was women who were going to take the toys from the boys so it was very feminist."

Journalist Bea Campbell, who also protested at Greenham, said: "This camp and its way of doing politics affected people who would never have imagined they would lend themselves to a radical cause.

"I think it was really extraordinary because people improvised ways of being dangerous that weren't destructive, so a supposedly impregnable camp was regularly penetrated by women literally cutting through or climbing over.

"Groups thought out very carefully how to do this in a way that would engage the soldiers rather than alienate them."

More on this story