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4 April  
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1984: Greenham Common women evicted
The women from the main peace camp at Greenham Common in Berkshire have been evicted but say it will not end their protest.

More than 30 people were arrested after bailiffs backed up by 300 police officers moved in early this morning.

Before today's action the local authority - Newbury District Council - has tried numerous times to remove the women from the site.

Their eviction followed the transfer of land adjoining the airbase to the Ministry of Transport so a new access road can be built.

The deadline for the women to leave passed on Monday.

At dawn police using loud hailers gave the women five minutes to leave the camp.

Most offered little physical resistance but some set fire to their makeshift tents in protest.

Once the site was cleared the area was fenced off ready for construction work to begin.

Civil liberties in Britain are being removed by order of the government
Tony Benn MP
Five smaller camps around other gates were also cleared.

Though it has gained a worldwide following since it began some local people welcomed the apparent end of the peace camp.

"We've had to put up with these malingerers and vagrants for two and a half years and quite frankly most of us are sick to the back teeth of it," said one man who lives nearby.

But Labour MP Tony Benn who later visited the women said their eviction was another example of the erosion of civil liberties.

"What is happening now is that civil liberties in Britain are being removed by order of the government," he said.

The women's peace camp was set up in September 1981 after 36 women marched from their South Wales homes to the Berkshire airbase in protest at plans to store Cruise missiles there.

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Women's peace camp at Greenham Common
The peace camp was set up in 1981

In Context
By nightfall women had returned to Greenham Common to re-establish their camps around the smaller gates.

They remained at the base throughout the time Cruise missiles were sited there.

The last of the missiles was flown back to the US in 1991 but some protesters stayed to ensure the former airbase was handed back to the people.

In April 2000, the wire fences surrounding the base were symbolically removed and the site once again became public land.

In September 2000 the last protesters left having won planning permission to construct a memorial to the activities of the peace camp.

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