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Monday, 27 August, 2001, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Greenham women mark missile fight
Women protesters at Greenham
The Greenham women attracted huge media attention
A Welsh politician who was one of the original Greenham Common campaigners will help mark the 20th anniversary of the historic women's march.

Jill Evans MEP was among those who marched from Cardiff to the US air base in Berkshire in 1981 to protest at plans to site missiles there.

Jill Evans MEP
Jill Evans marched from Cardiff to Berkshire
She helped celebrate the show of female strength on Monday when she saw a commemorative plaque unveiled at the Temple of Peace in Cathays Park, Cardiff.

Former protestors gathered at City Hall - starting point of the original march - and paraded to the Temple, just around the corner in the civic centre, for the ceremony, which is to see the premiere of a short film about the protest.

Last September, the peace campaigners finally ended 19 years of continuous protest after the last of the missiles was flown back to the US.

The women's peace camp was set up in September 1981 after 36 women marched for 10 days from their south Wales homes to the airbase in protest at plans to store Cruise Missiles.

A total of 96 missiles were eventually housed there, despite the protesters' constant vigil, which gained world-wide attention through the media.

Ms Evans became a regular visitor to Greenham Common.

The peace camp at Greenham Common changed the lives of women everywhere - whether they actually went to Greenham or not

Former Greenham marcher Jill Evans MEP
In 1982 she joined fellow members of Plaid Cymru's women's section who travelled straight from the party's conference to Greenham to take part in the "Embrace the Base" protest.

Now a member of the European Parliament, she has remained active on anti-nuclear issues - including US plans for a new missile defence system - and has said the peace campaigners at Greenham did much to raise awareness.

"The peace camp at Greenham Common changed the lives of women everywhere - whether they actually went to Greenham or not," she said.

"It was a huge peaceful protest against government plans which put all our lives in danger.

Greenham signpost
The Americans left the airbase in September 1992
"What started as a group of 35 people marching from Cardiff on a hot summer day turned into an international symbol of hope and strength.

"It showed that people can change things. It is relevant that we remember that today when we are faced with another deadly US missile plan and another British government willing to go along with it.

"We have to remind people of what happened 20 years ago to show that we can stop this Son of Star Wars project too."

An appeal has been launched to raise 100,000 for a memorial on the Greenham Common site to commemorate the protesters' struggle.

The memorial would include a ring of Welsh stones and a garden.

End of an era
The last peace protesters leave Greenham
See also:

10 Nov 99 | Greenham Common
Timeline: key points
29 Nov 99 | Greenham Common
Britain's nuclear arms run down
10 Nov 99 | Greenham Common
Greenham women: Diaries
10 Nov 99 | Greenham Common
Military history of the common
10 Nov 99 | Greenham Common
The women's peace camp
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