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1983: CND march attracts biggest ever crowd
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has held its biggest ever protest against nuclear missiles in London with an estimated one million people taking part.

Major cities across Europe have staged similar events.

The biggest crowds, estimated at 600,000, were seen in West Germany, where Cruise missiles are expected on 15 December.

Even though the number of protestors were far less than the two million predicted by CND, the organisers regarded the demonstrations as a success.

"The demonstration put paid to the notion that the peace movement is on its last legs," said the chairman of the CND, Joan Ruddock.

Police estimate 200,000 people turned up in London for the march which brought the city centre to a standstill.

Speaking in Hyde Park, where the march finished, Labour leader Neil Kinnock said: "We believe that the only sane use for the Polaris system is to put it into negotiations to ensure our nuclear disarmament and to bring about force reduction in the rest of the world."

Liberal MP Paddy Ashdown warned the crowd they needed to broaden their base and include anyone not totally committed to nuclear weapons.

"The only people we cannot include are those whose policy is actually to increase nuclear weapons" he said.

Other anti-nuclear demonstrations took place in Rome, Paris, Madrid and Brussels.

The protests are being held to show lack of support for the movement of Cruise and Pershing 2 missiles to sites across Europe from the United States.

The first missiles are expected to arrive at Greenham Common, Berkshire by the middle of November.

A total of 572 nuclear missiles are planned to be installed in European Nato countries.

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Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament logo
Other anti-nuclear demonstrations took place in Rome, Paris, Madrid and Brussels



In Context
Cruise missiles were kept at the Greenham Common base from November 1983 as part of Nato's response to the growing military might of the Soviet Union.

By 1992 all nuclear armed Cruise missiles were removed from Greenham Common and another base in Molesworth, Cambridge, under the terms of the US/Soviet Union Intermediate Nuclear forces (INF) agreement.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was founded in 1958 at the height of the Cold War and began to stage annual marches attended by thousands.

The organisation went into decline during a thaw in relations between the superpowers in the 1970s but regained its popularity during the 1980s with a series of marches to protest against Cruise missiles.

In 1998 CND had approximately 40,000 members, down from a high of 100,000.

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