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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 18:01 GMT
Bombers land at RAF Fairford
A B-52 landing
The arrival of the planes was overseen by MoD police
The first of a number of American B-52 bombers touched down on Monday at an RAF base in Gloucestershire.

14 of the long-range aircraft are destined for RAF Fairford.

The US bombers are expected to be involved in any conflict with Iraq.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon confirmed at Commons question time on Monday that he had agreed to the deployment of the bombers at the base.

This is not something we have been consulted about ... it makes us very angry
Brenda Burrell
Peace protester

RAF Fairford has been the scene of several protest marches against a possible war with Iraq, and a peace camp has been set up nearby.

Peace protester Brenda Burrell, a business consultant from Birmingham, said she was devastated by the arrival of the bombers.

She said: "It gives you a feeling like a big stone in your throat, and an even bigger stone in your heart.

"This is not something we have been consulted about, this is not something you can fax your MP about - it's a done deal.

"It makes us very angry."

The arrival of the planes was overseen by a large number of Minitry of Defence police patrolling the base perimeter.

B2 bomber

Gloucestershire Police have issued a "Section 60 Order" covering a one-mile radius around the base, allowing them to stop and search anyone in the area.

Two people have been stopped already, although nothing has been found.

Nick Barry, a 25-year-old care assistant and student, said that he had seen giant Globemaster transporters arrive on Sunday.

These are US aircraft capable of carrying huge amounts of equipment, including bombs for the B-52s.

RAF Fairford is a NATO-designated standby base and is shared with the US Air Force.

In 1999 a group of women set up a camp outside the base to protest against the NATO bombing of Kosovo.

It is one of only three forward USAF bases outside America.




SEE ALSO:
Fact file: B-52 Stratofortress
11 Dec 02 |  Americas


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