Police arrest 47 at peaceful blockade of Trident nuclear base

By staff writers
April 15, 2013

At least forty-seven people, including several Christians, have been arrested today (15 April) while peacefully blocking entrances to the Faslane nuclear base in Scotland.

They were calling for Trident nuclear weapons to be scrapped and the estimated £100 billion that the UK government plans to spend on them to be directed to welfare, pensions, disability benefits, green jobs and other human needs.

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 action was backed by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Trident Ploughshares, the Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Socialist Party, the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and other groups.

The blockade is one of more than a hundred actions on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, calling for deep reductions in military spending, currently at $1.74 trillion annually, and follows a demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday (13 April) when thousands of protesters called for the government to scrap Trident.

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.

Briain Quail, 70, a retired teacher from Glasgow was reportedly the first to be arrested. Others included Green MSP Patrick Harvie and CND chair Dave Webb.

Krista van Velzen, a former MP in the Netherlands and Christian peace activist, was also arrested, shortly after declaring “It's appalling that the UK spends £3 billion per year on weapons of mass destruction, while refugees in Syria struggle even to have a piece of tarp to make a shelter.”

Those arrested are reported to have ranged in age from 19 to 83 and came from across Scotland, Wales, England and possibly beyond. Older participants amongst those arrested include veteran Quaker campaigner Sylvia Boyes, 69, from Yorkshire, and Caerphilly Labour councillor Ray Davies, 83. They were joined by younger people including theology student Duncan Logie from Glasgow and Dominic Lindley, 20, from Yorkshire CND.

Lindley said he was “taking action to stop the breach of the peace” committed by the UK government in “owning and refusing to disarm weapons of mass destruction”.

Sheffield University student Sara Moon 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 but instead be spent on fundamental social goods such as education.”

She added, “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”

[Ekk/1]

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