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Pirates, boats, subs and missiles

Between 18 and 21 May, the fifth annual Trident Ploughshares peace camp was set up in a public park directly opposite Devonport dockyard in Plymouth. Only the river Tamar came between the peace pirates and HMS Victorious, the Trident submarine which is currently in for a refit.

About 30 people were actively participating in the camp activities, and far more folk passed through as they walked their dogs and aired their kids. Local support for the camp was overwhelmingly positive from a wide range of ages - the colourful spectacle of banners and flags left some local kids surprised that there was no entry fee.

Peace presence

Despite persistent rain, creativity sparked to produce a piece of street theatre for the annual Lord Mayor's Parade through Plymouth.

CND had been banned from the event, but that didn't deter Trident Ploughshares from carrying a ten foot model submarine and an equally massive nuclear carpetroll-missile in the procession, chanting “immoral, illegal, expensive and useless”.

I was delighted when I thought that the Rebel Clown Army had also made it to the parade, but was shocked to discover that the three pre-teen girls, in full camouflage kit and bad face paint, were part of a genuine military cadet float.

Our presence in this otherwise very military parade was enhanced by two eye-catching peace-boats wiggling about in the sound.

Police presence

On Sunday afternoon as we were striking camp, we were unexpectedly obstructed by a considerable number of MoD police. They claimed to have discovered a hole in the fence of the nearby Thanckes Fuel Depot, which happens to fuel a number of military vessels which dock in Devonport Dockyard. Someone had apparently cut in, spray-painted peace symbols on the fuel tanks, and got out again. They claimed their sniffer dog had followed the trail to the only tent left standing.

The police eventually left empty-handed. Neither they nor the weather dampened the spirits of a relaxed and enjoyable camp. New links were made and the campaigning continues.

Trident Ploughshares, 42-46 Bethel St, Norwich NR2 1NR (0845 4588 366; info@tridentploughshares.org; http://www.tridentploughshares.org/ ).