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Ash Wednesday 2003

Press Release

Embargoed 8 am Ash Wednesday 5th March 2003

Christians Say No to Nuclear Terrorism on day when Pope calls for Prayer for Peace
Ash Wednesday, 5th March, marks the 19th year of nonviolent civil disobedience and prayer at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall to draw attention to the British Governments continued commitment to Nuclear War preparations.

While our Government makes demands on Iraq to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, our own Defence Secretary has threatened the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq.

During the day people will be mark the building with blessed ash and charcoal with words such as , ‘Repent’ and ‘Choose Life.’ These actions are likely to lead to arrest. Ash Wednesday is chosen as the day when we can link personal need for and expression of repentance with a call to the nation to turn away from the sin of nuclear war preparations.

At the same time there will be a Christian liturgy , beginning Embankement Gardens (between Horseguards Ave and the Embankment tube station) and continuing around the Ministry of Defence Buildings in Horseguards Avenue. The liturgy begins at 3.00 pm

“Our action and prayer are all the more urgent as the world is at the brink of war with Iraq. Pope John Paul II has called the world to offer special prayers for peace this Ash Wednesday. Our prayer is that the British Government will turn away from a defence policy that is reliant on nuclear weapons and live up to its own obligations to disarm “

 Dan Martin, 48,
 Scott Albrecht, 41,
 Angela Broome, 67, East London
 David Partridge,

Excerpts from our leaflet issued on the day.

Nuclear Weapons as Much a Threat Today as Ever

  • During 2002 Geoff Hoon threatened the use nuclear weapons against Iraq if an attack with weapons of mass destruction were launched against British forces deployed in the region.
  • The demands made on Iraq should be matched by the actions of the existing nuclear states – including Britain. It is essential that we abide by our own legal obligations to bring to a conclusion negotiations aimed at the abolition of nuclear weapons.

I die with the conviction, held since 1968 that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them is a curse against God, the human family and the earth itself”.

Philip Berrigan. R.I.P Peace campaigner and prophet.
5 October 1923 – 6 December 2002, Baltimore, USA

April 1984 newsletter

1984 Ash Wednesday speaking truth to power
1984 Ash Wednesday speaking truth to power
1984 Ash Wednesday speaking truth to power

‘I recall the policeman of senior rank talking to me and asking me to walk down and away and I just said I prefer to stay if I have not been arrested. After a few minutes we were arrested. The police were quite respectful as we were and I think reluctant to arrest us.’
Ray