Anti-nuclear protest at Buckingham Palace

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Anti-nuclear protest at Buckingham Palace

By Sigrid Shayer

BRISTOL — A spectacular break-in of Buckingham Palace grounds in London on July 6 brought international attention to British nuclear testing on the lands of the Western Shoshone people in the United States.

Fifteen women from the Women's Nuclear Test Ban Network and two men were arrested. Fourteen were eventually charged with disorderly conduct and conspiracy to cause criminal damage. Scotland Yard described the action, which caused a huge security alert, as "very meticulously planned and expertly executed".

The women said they wanted to bring the attention of the queen, as head of state, to the 23 nuclear warhead explosions that Britain has conducted over the past 30 years in the Nevada desert.

"Theft of land and nuclear contamination have led to poverty, sickness and complete disregard for the human rights of the Western Shoshone nation", said Jane Gregory.

"It's about time the British public learned what is being done in their name to other people in other countries. They wouldn't test bombs like these on Salisbury Plain", added Di MacDonald, who was arrested outside the walls, holding a large banner in support of the Western Shoshone.

Many of the women, who came from all over the country, have been involved with the Greenham Common protests. They scaled the 12-foot-high wall in broad daylight, using two ladders, and bolt cutters to cut the barbed wire, as amazed onlookers watched.

The protest made front pages in national newspapers and prominent coverage in all the TV news.

Bristol Women's Centre, which is used by the network as a postal contact and resource centre, had its funds from the local authority frozen pending investigation of links between the two groups. The Women's Centre

issued a supportive statement saying it supported the Test Ban Network in line with the centre's policy to "actively support and encourage women's groups to blossom" and that it "condemns all nuclear testing and supports the Western Shoshone nation in the fight to reclaim their land".

Now that US President Clinton has continued the moratorium on nuclear tests at the Nevada site until September 1994, there are reports that the British government is negotiating with France to use the test site at Moruroa.