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U.S. Air Force Removes Cruise Missiles from Greenham Common

August 2, 1989

GREENHAM COMMON, England (AP) _ The first cruise missiles have been removed from Greenham Common but the women who made the base a synonym for protest say they aren’t going anywhere.

″Just because the Americans are moving out a measly 16 missiles everyone expects us to go away,″ Catrina Howse, who had been involved in the protests for seven years, said Tuesday.

″We are here to stay. This is nothing more than a military manipulation exercise. We’ve nothing to celebrate until the entire base is shut and restored as common land.″

A U.S. Air Force transport plane flew out the first group of the 96 missiles at Greenham Common, 50 miles west of London.

Press Association, Britain’s domestic news agency, said 16 missiles were removed Tuesday but the Air Force refused to disclose a number.

The missiles are to be destroyed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, the Air Force said.

All the missiles are to be removed by 1991 under the U.S.-Soviet intermediate weapons arms control treaty signed in 1987.

Anti-nuclear campaigners established a peace camp outside the base in 1981, but the protests gained prominence after the deployment of the cruise missiles on Nov. 14, 1983.

At the height of the protests, 35,000 women encircled the base.

On Tuesday, about a hundred women appeared around the base, and a few climbed over the barbed-wire atop the base’s fences before being rounded up by military police.

″Greenham will remain a focus of non-violence. We are not impressed with this publicity gimmick. As long as military weapons are in this country we will be here,″ said Elizabeth Junor.

″It is a victory for the women at the camp who have stayed here year in and year out and kept the issue in the public light,″ said Ann Harris, who brought a bottle of champagne. ″It isn’t the end but it’s a great day.″

One woman, Stephanie Johnson, had come to the base hoping to say goodbye to more than the missiles.

″I’ll be glad to see the back of them and those bloody women,″ she said. ″I support what they are doing but they have made such a mess of the area they will not be missed.″

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