Peace protest at Yorkshire US base over Iraq War

Peace campaigners are to target a United States military base in Yorkshire in a world-wide protest to mark the 20th anniversary of the first bomb to be dropped on Iraq.

At midnight tomorrow they will gather outside Menwith Hill, the United States intelligence-gathering base outside Harrogate.

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Simultaneous protests will be taking place in Washington, in Sydney in Australia, outside the US Embassies in London and Dublin, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, at the British Aerospace arms factory in Bristol, and other centres.

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The Yorkshire demonstrators will wear white suits, and

facemasks "symbolically saying that decisions about war planning are made by faceless people".

Their protest is being organised by the Campaign for Accountability of American Bases (CAAB). Among those taking part will be one of Britain's best-known peace campaigners Lindis Percy, who is an organiser of CAAB and a long-time campaigner against Menwith Hill.

She said: "On our doorstep is the largest intelligence gathering and surveillance base outside the US. In the first Gulf war the base won an award for the role it played.

"It is also crucial to the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more."

The base is staffed by more than 1,000 US personnel. It is linked to satellites which circle the earth gathering military, political and economic information which is fed back to the United States.

Ms Percy, a former West Yorkshire nurse, midwife and health visitor, lives in Harrogate.

She has been arrested at the base hundreds of times. She has been fined, imprisoned and electronically tagged. She featured on TV world-wide when she climbed the gates of Buckingham Palace in protest against a visit by then US President George W Bush.

During the war on Iraq, Ms Percy was arrested after she breached security at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and spent two hours underneath a US B-52 bomber being prepared for deployment to the Gulf.

Ms Percy, 68, is a Quaker and was born in Leeds. She is married to a Church of England clergyman, and they have three adult children and six grandchildren.

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