HUNDREDS of anti-nuclear campaigners descended on the Atomic Weapons Establishment today (Monday) in the hope of bringing it to a standstill.

Protesters blocked entrances to the nuclear bomb factory in Aldermaston from 7am with many of them linking themselves together with super glue, concrete lock-ons and chains.

Police made 10 arrests, five for obstructing the highway and five for entering the site, while roads surrounding the base ground to a halt.

Amongst the demonstrators were Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament co-founder, Pat Arrowsmith, and Nobel Peace Laureates Mairead Maguire, who received the award in 1976 for her peace campaigning in Northern Ireland, and 1997 winner, Jody Williams, who spearheaded an anti-landmine movement.

Mairead Maguire, who sat down in the road outside Home Office Gate for more than two hours, said: "We do this for the children. By building these nuclear weapons we are planning mass murder."

Also taking part was the Bishop of Reading, the Right Rev Stephen Cottrell, who said: "It costs billions of pounds to build these nuclear weapons. Would it not be better spent on hospitals, schools and trying to build a green economy?"

Campaigners travelled from across the country and Europe, including Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Spain, to join the annual demonstration outside the AWE.

Police said 350 people took part in the blockade but organisers say the actual turn-out was 800.

Carlsson Laska from Sweden, who was sat down outside the Main Gate in Reading Road, said: "What they are making here threatens the whole world so it is important for other people, and not just those living in this country, to make a stand."

Heath End resident, Raymond Edgar, who lives opposite the Tadley Gate, said: "We are used to it by now and I am old enough to remember the old marches when people came in their thousands. They have a right to protest and it's only one day a year."

Care worker, Charlotte Blair, who was visiting a Heath End resident, said: "I got stuck in traffic but it was not too bad. I knew it was taking place so I left early."