Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp
Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp was a peace camp established to protest at nuclear weapons being sited at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire, England. The camp began in September 1981 after a Welsh group, Women for Life on Earth, arrived at Greenham to protest against the decision of the British government to allow cruise missiles to be based there. The first blockade of the base occurred in May 1982 with 250 women protesting, during which 34 arrests were made.
In December 1982, 30,000 women joined hands around the base at the Embrace the Base event. On 29 September 1982 the women were evicted by Newbury District Council but set up a new camp nearby within days.
The camp became well known when on 1 April 1983, about 70,000 protesters formed a 14 miles (23 km) human chain from Greenham to Aldermaston and the ordnance factory at Burghfield. The women's peace camp attracted significant media attention and "prompted the creation of other peace camps at more than a dozen sites in Britain and elsewhere in Europe". Another encircling of the base occurred in Dec 1983, with 50,000 women attending. Sections of the fence were cut and there were hundreds of arrests.
On 4 April 1984, the women were again evicted from the Common; again by nightfall the women all returned to reform the camp. 
The camp consisted of nine smaller camps at various gates around the base. The first was called Yellow Gate and others included: Blue Gate with its new age focus, Violet Gate with a religious focus, and Green Gate which was exclusively women-only and did not accept male visitors.
The last missiles left the camp in 1991 as a result of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but the camp remained in place until 2000 after protestors won the right to house a memorial on the site. Although the missiles had been removed from the base, the camp was continued as part of the protest against the forthcoming UK Trident programme. The last four protesters to leave the site included Sarah Hipperson who had been part of the camp protest for a total of nineteen years.
A Commemorative & Historic Site on the site of the old camp was inaugurated on 5 October 2002 which features a circle of seven standing stones encircling the 'Flame' sculpture which represents a camp fire.
See also 
- David Cortright (2008). Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas, Cambridge University Press, p. 147.
- "Records of Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp (Yellow Gate)". National Archives.
- "Greenham Peace Camps Evicted". Red Rag. 1982-10-03.
- "1983: Human chain links nuclear sites". British Broadcasting Corporation. 1983-04-01. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- Paul Brown, Shyama Perera and Martin Wainwright. Protest by CND stretches 14 miles The Guardian, 2 April 1983.
- "Moles & Lemmings (a personal account of the action at Greenham on December 11th 1983)". Red Rag. 1984-01-08.
- "1984: Greenham Common women evicted". British Broadcasting Corporation. 1984-04-04. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- "19-year Greenham Common campaign to end". Guardian News and Media Limited. 2000-09-05.
- BBC Radio 4 PM broadcast 3 November 2011
- Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp Commemorative & Historic Site
Further reading 
- Greenham Common Collection ref 5GCC
- Records of Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp (Yellow Gate) ref 5GCW
- Jayne and Juliet Nelson (Yellow Gate) ref 7JAN
- Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp
- Greenham Common Camp Festival
- UKWatch.net: Remembering Greenham Common (December 11, 2007. by Kate Hudson)
- Article on Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp by the International Museum of Women.
- Imperial War Museum online exhibit and sound archive about the camp