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Trident rally wraps MoD in scarf

Thousands of anti-nuclear activists have held a protest with a huge scarf to call on the Government to "wrap up" the Trident nuclear missiles programme.

The pink-coloured scarf, knitted by people across the world, encircled the Ministry of Defence building in central London as part of the demonstration today.

Thousands of supporters of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined the protest, which also involved a rally opposite Parliament.

The noisy crowd chanted "Wrap up Trident, ban the bomb now" as they unfurled the scarf down Whitehall and along the River Thames.

Many waved placards which read "A&E not WMD", "Books Not Bombs" and "Climate Not Trident".

Others carried mock bins of radioactive waste.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson, who led the scarf carriers, believed it was at least two miles long.

"It's a very good amount of scarf and a very good amount of people," she said.

Ms Hudson explained that the campaigners wanted to send a message to the current Government as well as the political leaders standing in the general election.

"They should know that scrapping Trident is a vote winner, not a vote loser," she said.

"The British people will not stand for masses of our taxpayers' money being spent on nuclear weapons."

The protest came just days after a debate was held in the Commons on the future of Trident.

Only 37 MPs backed a motion urging the Government to abandon plans to renew Trident, which CND said showed the "gulf" between Westminster and the British public.

Ms Hudson said: "The motion against Trident replacement was defeated by 364-37 - showing just how many MPs have refused to move on from the Cold War and are even prepared to sacrifice the NHS to maintain a nuclear arsenal.

"If it's security they want, then it's illusory, taking a heavy toll both in the UK, as public services are slashed, and abroad, as states around the world are given the incentive to develop their own nuclear weapons systems.

"Over 250 MPs - including Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg - didn't cast a vote. One undoubted result will be that those re-standing (in the general election) who failed to vote will find themselves under increasing pressure.

"Millions of people around the country oppose this £100 billion monstrosity, and it's not hard to see why when military figures say Trident's useless, and when we look at just how transformative that money could be if spent on the NHS, job creation, renewable energy, housing and education.

"Trident is set to be a huge election issue, but if MPs fail to express their opinions on Trident replacement, they can expect to be punished at the ballot box in May."

:: The Occupy movement said it was planning to stage fresh demonstrations at Parliament today to defend their right to protest.

The protest, which will follow the CND event, is aimed at highlighting the influence corporations have on policies related to wars.

Parliament Square was fenced off after previous Occupy protests.

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