The Guardian March 1, 2000


Trident is illegal!

by Daphne Liddle

FASLANE nuclear submarine base in Scotland was closed for nearly two hours 
on Monday, February 14, as around 400 peace activists picketed the base in 
the biggest blockade for 15 years.

There were 179 arrests as peaceful picketers refused to budge from the 
road. Police were simply not prepared and processing them all took most of 
the day.

The Valentine's Day picket was organised by Trident Ploughshares and 
included two Euro MPs and a member of the Scottish Parliament, more than a 
dozen clergymen and members of the same group as the three women who were 
acquitted last year of charges of damaging property at the base, when a 
sheriff ruled that according to international law, Trident nuclear weapons 
are illegal.

Among those arrested were Caroline Lucas, Britain's only Green Euro MP, 
Scottish Member of Parliament Tommy Sheridan, Welsh councillor Ray Davies 
and Angela Zelter, one of those found not guilty of breaking into the base 
four months ago in the controversial sheriff's court ruling.

Messages of support came from Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament John 
McAllion, film star Sir Sean Connery, actress Emma Thompson and author Kurt 
Vonnegut.

Also in attendance and very vocal, as usual, was the Cardiff Reds Choir. 
Five members of the choir were arrested.

Choir member Beatrice Smith told the British communist weekly New 
Worker: "It was very enjoyable, a very good demo. There were workshops 
the day before so we knew exactly what to do. It was very well organised.

"The police were very good but just not prepared for the numbers. The 
weather was appalling  heavy rain. It would have been better if it had 
been snow. We were hardened campaigners and came dressed for the occasion 
but we were still quickly soaked through. So were the police.

"Our group went to one of the two gates. The police had already shut this 
themselves and all the action was at the other gate. We were in touch by 
mobile phone and most of us went across  a one-and-a-half-mile trek 
across the fields.

"Around 50 stayed behind in case the police tried to sneak the traffic in 
through that gate  mainly workers at the base arriving for their daily 
shift. They saw no action but they were very necessary and very disciplined 
to stick it out in the rain where they were.

"We arrived at the other gate just in time. The police started trying to 
clear this before the protesters were even in position."

The demonstrators held placards saying: "Trident's a crime", "Base closed" 
and "Crime scene, do not enter".

The real message delivered was that peace campaigners in Britain and 
throughout the world have not taken their eye off the ball.

The Government may want us all to forget the costly monstrosities but the 
dangers of a nuclear war have not gone away and nor have the protests 
against them. 

* * *
New Worker

Back to index page