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Thousands march in London against renewal of Trident nuclear deterrent

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 10:40 GMT, Feb 28, 2016 |
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Thousands of protesters marched to London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday (February 27) to voice their opposition to the renewal of Trident, Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

The march was organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), who wanted the government to see how many of its citizens were opposed to renewal plans.

A decision on replacing the ageing fleet of four submarines, which carry nuclear warheads, is due to be made this year. Prime Minister David Cameron is committed to the renewal, but the issue has caused deep divisions in the opposition Labour Party.

The government has said replacing the submarines will cost 31 billion pounds while Reuters puts the overall cost of renewing and maintaining a successor to Trident at more than 167 billion pounds (US234 billion dollars) over 32 years.

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn addressed the rally following earlier speeches by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and leaders of other parties.

“We don’t achieve peace by planning for war and grabbing each other’s resources,” Corbyn told cheering supporters.

Sturgeon said the government should try to create jobs for those working in the weapons system.

“We need to make sure that we invest scarce resources in things that create good jobs and improve our public services,” she said.

While most lawmakers in Cameron’s Conservative party support keeping nuclear weapons, Corbyn, a veteran left-wing and anti-war activist, supports unilateral disarmament and is holding a review of the party’s policy.

That has led to deep divisions among its lawmakers and earlier this month, Labour’s homeaffairs spokesman Andy Burnham, said it might be impossible for the party to agree a position.