Forty-seven arrested; Faslane Nuclear Weapons Base Shut by Protesters for 3 Hours Today

Forty seven protesters were arrested this morning blockading the Faslane Naval Base, in Scotland, calling for Trident nuclear weapons based there to be scrapped and the £100 billion which the UK government plans to spend on them over the next 50 years, to be directed to welfare, pensions, disability benefits, green jobs and other human needs. [1]

All gates were blocked with the base completely shut from 7am until 10am. The entrance was filled with people. singing and in good spirits. The blockade is one of more than a hundred Global Day of Action on Military Spending protests calling for deep reductions in military spending, currently at £1.73 Trillion annually, and follows a demonstration on Saturday when thousands of protesters called for the government to Scrap Trident. [2]

Activists from a dozen campaign groups and political parties laid down in the entrance to the base and locked themselves together with metal and plastic tubes, chains and thumb cuffs. Police used specialist cutting equipment to cut them out before they were able to lift them out of the road. Those arrested ranged in age from 19 to 83 and came from across Scotland, Wales and England.

Scottish CND Executive Committee member Brian Quail, 70, a retired teacher from Glasgow was first to be arrested with a group of Scottish Green Party members last. UK CND Chair Dave Webb and MSP Patrick Harvie. [3]

Among those arrested were Myra Garrett, 80, a community activist from the East End of London, Sylvia Boyes, 69, a Quaker from Yorkshire, Kristin Barrett, 70 a grandmother and foster mother of many children from Blairgowrie, Barbara Dowling, 68, a retired Occupational Therapist and Barbara Maver from Edinburgh, both members of Trident Ploughshares, one of the groups which organised the weekend of protest and action, who have been arrested at Faslane on numerous occassions.

Veteran campaigner Caerphilly Labour councillor, Ray Davies, 83, who features in Ken Loach’s new film Spirit of ’45, and who ahas been arrested many times in protests against nuclear weapons was arrested today after blockading for three hours. [4]

Many younger people were arrested, including Ryan Morrison of Paisley, a student at Strathclyde University and Duncan Logie a Theology and politics student at Glasgow University and Paddy Durnin a student from Dundde Univerisity and member of Action Palestine Society.

Dominic Lindley, 20, Development Officer with Yorkshire CND who said: “I am taking action to stop the Breach of the Peace committed by the UK by owning and refusing to disarm the weapons of mass destruction. These weapons are both inhumane, illegal and their use can never be justified. In the next few years the UK has an opportunity to join the vast majority of countries in the world by disarming our POINTLESS nuclear weapons and spend the £100 billion wasted on them on vital services for our communities like the NHS, Education and the Welfare State. We cannot work towards a nuclear free world without disarming our own nuclear weapons. We must SCRAP TRIDENT and invest in our local communities.”

Sara Moon a Development Officer from Sheffield University said: “Sheffied University Student Union has a firm commitment to the belief that money should not be spent on funding the arms trade and supporting war butinstead be spent on fundamental social goods such as education. It would take a fraction of the cost of the Trident nuclear programme to fund free education for all in the UK. At a time when the worst off in our communities have been stripped of their access to education we have to demand that public money is not wasted on something as unnecessary and devastating as Trident”

Former Netherlands MP and IKV Pax Christi Disarmament campaigner Krista van Velzen, before being arrested, said, “I’m here witnessing the run up to the first time ever a people have the chance to vote on whether they want to live in a nuclear weapons state. It’s appalling that the UK spends £3Billion per year on weapons of mass destruction, while refugees in Syria struggle even to have a piece of tarp to make a shelter.”

Laurie Ross of Christchurch, representing Nuclear free New Zealand and an Ambassador of the Auckland Peace City came to support the Scrap Trident blockade of Faslane before going on to Edinburgh for a meeting of the international nuclear disarmament campaigning network Abolition 2000. [5] [6] She said “I am here to achieve the Nuclear weapons convention for the abolition of nuclear weapons starting with Scotland.”

Today’s blockade culminated the Scrap Trident weekend of protest and action which began on Saturday with a mass demonstration in Glasgow’s George Square.

Photos from the Blockade will available at: http://www.facebook.com/ScrapTrident?ref=hl

ends

For further details contact:

Brian Larkin 07584492257

Leonna O’Neill 07511793227