VIGILS are being held around Scotland today to mark the 78th anniversary of the horrific nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

They take place amid warnings that the world is now closer to nuclear catastrophe than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis during the Cold War.

And as cinemagoers flock to watch the Oppenheimer movie about the making of the nuclear bombs that destroyed the two Japanese cities during the Second World War, a film will be shown in Edinburgh tonight which features the nuclear weapons based in Scotland.

Following events in Ayr and Kilmarnock yesterday, there will be vigils in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Paisley today, the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima which killed an estimated 140,000 men, women and children and wounded, disfigured and poisoned tens of thousands more.

On Tuesday, on the eve of the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki which killed at least 74,000 people, there will be a webinar with speaker Linda Pentz Gunter from Beyond Nuclear International, who will argue that racism fundamentally underpinned the decision to release the two bombs and this pattern of discrimination repeated itself throughout the Cold War almost everywhere atomic tests took place.

In the US in particular, this practice, which began with uranium mining conducted by unprotected Native Americans on their lands, continues across the wider nuclear sector, according to Pentz Gunter.

Today’s events begin in Glasgow at noon at the Doulton Fountain beside the People’s Palace. The speakers are David Kelly, vice-chair of SCND and Glasgow CND; Andy Saunders, who has campaigned against nuclear weapons ever since he took part in the Aldermaston protest march; and Jean Anderson, a long-time and highly respected campaigner and former member of the SCND executive. The Glasgow Protest in Harmony choir will be singing.

In Paisley, there will be a walk to the peace garden in Barshaw Park starting at 3.45pm where the speakers will be Labour MSP Katy Clark and poet Ray Evans.

The events will finish in Edinburgh at 6pm with a vigil at the crossroads of Castle Street and Princes Street from 6pm to 7pm with Protest in Harmony singing and Lynn Jamieson speaking for Edinburgh CND.

The film A Guided Tour Of The Unacceptable, spotlighting the nuclear weapons based on the Clyde, will be shown afterwards at the Words and Action gallery in Ratcliffe Terrace, where there will also be an exhibition of images from the Hiroshima Peace Museum and the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which will run until August 17.

Speaking to the Sunday National, Jamieson said the war in Ukraine and political posturing over nuclear weapons meant the world was closer now to nuclear Armageddon than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis.

She said reports that the US was again wanting to store nuclear weapons at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk was “worrying”.

Nuclear bombs were stored at the airbase until they were removed in 2008 following persistent popular protest, which escalated after it was revealed two major incidents that narrowly avoided triggering a nuclear catastrophe had been covered up by the US and UK governments.

Jamieson pointed out that the non-proliferation treaty the US has signed dictates it should not transfer nuclear weapons or the capacity to build them to another country.

The US Trident nuclear missiles on the Clyde are a breach of the treaty, Jamieson said, and siting US nuclear bombs in Suffolk would be another breach.

“Now Russia has said it will put nuclear bombs in Belarus and that just adds to the danger,” said Jamieson.

She added that the Oppenheimer film had missed out some important aspects of the development of nuclear weapons.

“It’s interesting in some respects but it didn’t need to be three hours long and you never see a single Japanese person,” she said.

“You do hear about the numbers killed but you don’t get any sense of the suffering. There is this myth that the bombing ended the war more quickly and saved lives but Japan was already defeated and desperate to surrender and just needed serious negotiation about maybe allowing them to keep the emperor as some slight face-saving gesture.

“You do hear both sides of that in the film but it does not make it completely clear that Japan was desperate to surrender.

“You also don’t see the fact that to test the weapons they had to move indigenous people out of the way and caused them health harm for generations.”

Tickets for the webinar “Why did the US bomb Hiroshima and Nagaski” can be found at