Greenham Common protest

A report on the Greenham Common demonstration, dated 27 June 1983. (Catalogue ref: DEFE 34/3020).

The first Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp protested against US Cruise Missiles being placed at RAF Greenham Common took place in September 1981.






In my 570/83/95/2 I reported on Friday the last minute warning by Thames Valley Police of the scale and nature of the anti-nuclear demonstration planned to take place on Saturday 25 June; and on the urgent MOD reinforcement operation comprising 100 MOD Police and a somewhat larger number of RAF personnel that had consequently been set in hand.

  1. In the event, the demonstration took place and, at its peak, about 1500 were present outside the perimeter. At about 3.00 pm, some 80 demonstrators penetrated the wire, in 5 separate places, and entered the base. They were swiftly contained by the MOD forces, but not before some of them had reached the runway on which they painted anti-nuclear slogans (which have now been removed). There was one arrest by MOD police, for damage to the window of an MOD police coach, but all trespassers were removed from the base by the early evening.
  2. This event was significant in three main respects. Firstly, it was evidence again of the general reliability of Thames Valley Police warnings of the likely nature scale of such demonstrations- even though on this occasion the warning came at a very late stage. Secondly, the civil police assessment that incursions were likely was fully borne out. Thirdly, the event was further confirmation that the Greenham Common perimeter is a particularly hard one to defend and that, whatever the scale of internal reinforcement, it is unrealistic to suppose that every incursion can be wholly prevented- as opposed to being swiftly contained.
  3. The Guardian today reported the incident, together with the creation of a peace camp outside RAF Cottesmore. Extra MDP personnel have been deployed there and also at Porton where there is also now some presence of demonstrators although the latter have not so far been reported to the press.

27th June 1983


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