Arrests made at Faslane anti-Trident protest

Protestors chained themselves to the naval base's gates. Picture: PA
Protestors chained themselves to the naval base's gates. Picture: PA
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SCORES of anti-nuclear demonstrators were arrested following a peaceful protest outside Faslane naval base.

About 150 people gathered at the facility, near Garelochhead in Argyll, in an attempt to disrupt activity for the day.

Protestors blockade Faslane naval base. Picture: PA

Protestors blockade Faslane naval base. Picture: PA

Police Scotland said 29 women and 15 men were arrested for a variety of offences, including breach of the peace and resisting arrest.

The blockade, the culmination of a weekend of action calling on the UK government to scrap the Trident weapons system, was attended by politicians, environmentalists, students, schoolchildren and pensioners.

The group, which included campaigners from England, Wales and further afield, arrived at the base before 7am. Bearing flags and posters, they sang in favour of “welfare not warfare”.

About 20 protesters chained themselves together using sections of drainpipe to obstruct traffic coming in and out of the base’s two main gates. Having issued a warning, police removed them after midday using specialist cutting equipment. Among those arrested was Chas Booth, a Scottish Green Party councillor for the Leith ward of Edinburgh City Council. He said he was charged with breach of the peace “for sitting on the road”.

Police move protestors. Picture: PA

Police move protestors. Picture: PA

Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP for Glasgow, also attended the demonstration. He said the referendum on Scottish independence would give Scotland the opportunity to take charge of its own defence affairs.

He said: “We’re finally on the verge of being able to do something about it. If Scotland decides next year to take control of its own defence and foreign affairs policy, we will be able at last to consign Trident to history and make Scotland a force for peace in the world.”

James Foley, a PhD student from Edinburgh, said: “We are very much aware that we are hosting these nuclear weapons. They are immoral and a disgrace to all humanity.”

Ray Davies, an 83-year-old Labour councillor from Caerphilly, was among the oldest campaigners who turned out.

He said: “There can never be a peaceful world with nuclear weapons, not just nuclear weapons but the pollution from the power stations that they need. Everything that is connected to nuclear weapons is slowly but surely poisoning this planet.”

However, the protests were criticised by a community leader in Argyll who said the anti-nuclear campaigns were losing popularity, especially among local people because of the disruption involved.

George Freeman, an independent councillor for Gare-lochhead, dismissed the blockade as a “complete flop”.

He said: “I am delighted to say that today’s planned blockade has once again been a damp squib, and that the community have managed to go about their business without any significant disruption. It is clear that over the past six years, the numbers taking part in demonstrations has reduced significantly.”

The Faslane blockade was one of more than 100 protests in dozens of countries as part of a global day of action against military spending.