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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 19 January, 2003, 19:32 GMT
Police arrest anti-war protesters
Police remove a demonstrator. Picture by Stuart Emmerson
The demonstration attracted around 300 people
Police have arrested 48 peace protesters after a sit-in demonstration outside a military base in west London.

The campaigners were carried off by officers after they refused to move from their position outside the permanent joint headquarters of the armed forces in Northwood on Sunday.

Hopefully we have managed to disrupt the whole working of the base

Emma Sangster, Voices UK
The peace rally began just after midday with a multi-faith service and a march of 400 people from the nearby Tube station.

But the protest was peaceful overall with few incidents, according to Hertfordshire Police.

The base was chosen for the demonstration as it is the command post for British rapid deployment forces, which would play a key role in directing British forces in the event of a war with Iraq.

Road closed

Police said the arrests were for obstruction of the highway after a large group sat down outside the base. None were violent.

Four women who had locked themselves together in pairs were also arrested for obstructing the highway at a side entrance to the base.

The police had earlier set up a barrier at the base's entrance and closed a nearby road - Sandy Road.

Global protest

Emma Sangster, of protest group Voices UK, said: "We are pleased that we managed to block the gate and hopefully we have managed to disrupt the whole working of the base during the day."

Sunday's protest started when seven activists locked themselves to a pair of pants with the slogan "Pants to War" emblazoned across the front.

Protests locked to model. Picture by Stuart Emmerson
Protesters lay in front of the gates
This was the second day of demonstrations at the base organised by direct action groups Voices in the Wilderness UK, Active Resistance to the Roots of War (Arrow) and the D10 group.

On Saturday 18 countries worldwide took part in anti-war demonstrations against any possible conflict with Iraq.

Voices spokesman Richard Byrne said they had been pleased with Saturday's demonstration.

"We are really pleased, it was about putting Northwood on the map and getting a lot of people out there to see what it does."


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