Thousands of protesters including Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders gather in London for CND march and rally
Thousands of protesters have assembled in central London for Britainâ€™sÂ biggest anti-nuclear weapons rallyÂ in a generation.
Campaigners gathered from across the world: some said they had travelled from Australia to protest against the renewal ofÂ Trident. Others had come from the west coast of Scotland, where Britainâ€™s nuclear deterrent submarines are based.
As the huge column of people began moving from Marble Arch after 1pm, the mood was buoyant and spirited despite the cold.
Naomi Young, 34, from Southampton said: â€œYou canâ€™t use nuclear weapons. You would destroy the environment and kill hundreds of thousands of people. Why spend Â£100bn to buy a weapon unless you want to destroy the earth?â€
Many waved placards with phrases including â€œBooks Not Bombsâ€, â€œCut War Not Welfareâ€ and â€œNHS Not Tridentâ€.
A common theme among protesters was theÂ cost of renewing TridentÂ during a period of austerity.
Kai Carrwright, 17, from Exeter said: â€œWe are having to pay to go to university and yet they want to spend Â£100bn on something that can only lead to the destruction of life on Earth.â€
The campaigners headed for Trafalgar Square where were addressed by the leaders of theÂ SNP,Â Plaid CymruÂ and theÂ Green party. The true draw â€“ cited as an inspiration by many of those assembled â€“ was the leader of the Labour party,Â Jeremy Corbyn, whose unswervingÂ unilateralist stanceÂ has electrified the nuclear deterrent debate in a manner few could have foreseen.
Entering the stage to rapturous applause, he said that no one should forget the â€œabsolute mass destruction on both sidesâ€ that would follow a nuclear attack and reiterated his â€œtotal horror of nuclear weapons, should they ever be used by anybodyâ€.
Corbyn said he was elected Labour leader on a manifesto in which standing against the renewal of Trident was a key component.
He acknowledged the partyâ€™s role in the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty and urged: â€œI want to see a Labour government that would adhere to all the articles of the non-proliferation treaty.â€
The treaty had worked, given that most countries that did not have nuclear weapons at that time had not subsequently acquired them, Corbyn told the crowd. It was a credit to countries such as Argentina, South Africa and Brazil that both Africa and South America remained free of such weapons, he added.
The US, Russia and the UK signed the treaty, pledging their cooperation in stemming the spread of nuclear technology.
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