St. Louis area residents gathered last Saturday in the Delmar Loop in University City to show their support for United Nations legislation banning nuclear weapons.
The U.N. General Assembly is currently discussing a legally binding treaty to ban nuclear weapons. On June 15, the General Assembly started the discussions which are scheduled to end on July 7. The United States, Great Britain, China, France and Russia – four countries known to possess nuclear weapons – oppose the agreement along with India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.
The St Louis march was one of many marches sponsored by Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) that were held in various cities around the U.S. and the world on Saturday. Veterans for Peace, Peace Economy Project and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment co-sponsored the march along with the St. Louis chapter of WILPF. Supporters of the treaty to ban nuclear weapons gathered by the Chuck Berry sculpture on Delmar Boulevard holding signs that said “Ban the Bomb,” “I’m Pro-life, Ban the Bomb” and “Save Mother Earth From Nuclear Winter.”
A number of speakers spoke at the rally before the march. Veterans for Peace Executive Director Michael McPherson reminded the assemblage what civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s response was regarding nuclear arms. “Fifty years ago, when asked about nuclear weapons, Dr. King Martin Luther King Jr. replied, ‘I definitely feel that the development and use of nuclear weapons should be banned. It cannot be disputed that a full-scale nuclear war would be utterly catastrophic. Hundreds and millions of people would be killed outright by the blast and heat, and by the ionizing radiation produced at the instant of the explosion. Even countries not directly hit by bombs would suffer through global fall-out. All of this leads me to say that the principal objective of all nations must be the total abolition of war. War must be finally eliminated or the whole of mankind will be plunged into the abyss of annihilation.”
Lynn Sableman, a member of the St. Louis branch of W.I.L.P.F., said “There are over 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, owned by 9 or 10 nations. There are 20 or so nations whose national security is based on that ‘umbrella of safety’ provided by U.S.A, nukes. These governments are not part of the ban the bomb negotiations. Instead, this handling of the ban requires a shift to humanitarian concerns. The indiscriminate loss of life makes nuclear weapons illegal.” Ronald Glossop, a member of Citizens for Global Solutions, spoke on the need for the nations of the world to embrace a form of governance and for nuclear weapons to be banned. Abbe Sudvarg, M.D., a board member of the Peace Economy Project, spoke about the destruction that nuclear weapons brought to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Following the speeches, the demonstrators walked down Delmar Boulevard and chanted “Ban the bomb” and “No more nuclear weapons.”