Anti-DU International Day of Action a Success: Producers and Users of Depleted Uranium Pressurised Worldwide
The 29th May was the first "Target DU - International Day of Action Against Depleted Uranium" and successful actions were completed in three continents with at least six targets visited, many more contacted and thousands of leaflets explaining the dangers of depleted uranium distributed to workers and the general public.
In the UK the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU) visited two sites in Chester, in the North of England. Firstly a group visited the headquarters of BNFL (British Nuclear Fuels Limited) on a quest to find out which locations were involved in the production, storage and disposal of depleted uranium. Two people managed to get inside the building before the doors were locked and demanded to speak to management about the company's activities. After being told there was no one available to speak to them, tenacity paid off and a spokesman from their corporate affairs appeared. He was unsurprisingly, rather reticent to give any information at the meeting, promising to answer our questions more fully by post. However we managed to uncover the useful information that BNFL still has a contract to dispose of waste containing DU at a municipal dump at Freckleton, near Preston. We await their further answers with interest…
The second place on our itinerary was the uranium enrichment site at Capenhurst, which is a joint operation between Urenco and BNFL. We arrived to find that the police had already "got wind" of out visit and were waiting for us with big vans, dogs and cameras! However we managed to leaflet over 300 workers coming out for shift change and also students at the nearby technological college. One of the staff at the college told us they were trying to move the college because of fears of the site's safety. Phone calls also came from all around the country to companies involved with DU to demand information on their activities and to confront them with public concerns at their behaviour.
In Vieques, the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV) held an event in recognition of this day at Camp Justice and Peace, located directly outside the gates of Camp Garcia, the U.S. Navy's training facility and bombing range. Camp Garcia is where the use of DU weapons was finally admitted to in 2000 after a military cover-up and is one of the reasons that Vieques has a 27% higher cancer rate than mainland Puerto Rico. The event included a video on the topic of DU, as well as a discussion by three members of the CRDV: Ismael Guadalupe, who was one of the first people to discover and denounce the Navy's use of DU in Camp Garcia, Dr. Rivera Castaño, a retired epidemiologist who will discuss the effects of DU on the population of Vieques, and Ernesto Peña, who attended a conference in Manchester, England in 2001 on the use of DU. A resolution was also presented, written by Fernando Martin Garcia (Puerto Rican Independence Party) that is currently before the Puerto Rican Senate. This Resolution joins in solidarity with Puerto Rican environmental and peace activists for the declaration of May 29th as the Day of International Action Against Depleted Uranium.
In Tucson, USA, a picket of the local Air Force Base, where pilots are trained to fly DU armed A-10 aircraft, had to be called off on the day due to a dangerous forest fire that was covering the nearby mountain ranges. But in Minnesota, a successful "Speakout" at Alliant Techsystems corporate HQ was held with over 40 people attending and workers picketed. Alliant Techsystems is Minnesota's largest weapons producer and one of the largest producers of DU weapons. Given the numbers of US servicemen damaged by DU it is ironic that some heckled demonstrators with shouts of "Why do you hate your country so much!". More photos of this action can be seen at: http://www.circlevision.org/alliantaction.html This is the first time there has been an International Day of action highlighting DU and the successful actions and increased networking between anti DU campaigners are testimony to its success. If you took part in an action around May 29th or would like a hand in organising future actions please contact CADU.
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Page last updated: 6th December 2002