64 down, 301 to go

IssueDecember 2006 - January 2007
News by Anna-Linnea Rundberg

November saw 16 different groups covering 20 days at Faslane, clocking up a mighty 148 arrests. The total number of arrests since 1 October 2006 stands at 330, but still only one prosecution so far.

Cumbria and North Lancashire started the month on a Halloween theme, handing over to the Iona community and the Clergy Action Group. By all accounts the police found it a surreal experience to be arresting so many church ministers. CND and Stop The War were next in line, with small but stubborn groups - the numbers clearly suggesting that this kind of action works better with locally based groups where people can come together and practise and plan beforehand.

Manchester arrived in an antiTrident Routemaster bus with an eight-foot-tall Grim Reaper conductor, along with a whole bunch of more healthy-looking blockaders. The Samba Band made a lasting impression on everybody present and when the North Gate roundabout was approached from three different directions at the same time, there wasn't really much the yellow jackets could do.

During the Palestinian Solidarity block, the police discovered that Barbara, 79, didn't actually need her Zimmerframe except to lock on to! At one point there were nine officers struggling to disentangle the blockaders from the Zimmer.

Remember and resist

Solidarity, a new Scottish political party, had a presence and handed over to the London singers who entertained with political singing in the rain. On Remembrance Day, Helen John and Tossie Stickles took their case about not being prosecuted at Faslane to the High Court in Edinburgh.

They covered the High Court building in slogans like "76bn pound war crime" and “No to SOCPA Sec 128”. After this they were indeed taken to court and bailed out of Edinburgh.

The Northern Quakers also had a Remembrance Day theme, being dressed as white poppies. They locked-on to a giant white poppy - maybe this is an idea for the Peace Pledge Union for next year's poppy production?

The Welsh descended on Faslane accompanied by two red dragons. The North Welsh group came as Merched Beccas, a 19th century peasants' revolt in which the local farmers dressed as women and blacked their faces before going to smash up the road toll gate. Unfortunately the gates of Faslane are still intact - but the Welsh did some good blockading and are coming back in the spring!

Leeds and Bradford locked on to a giant ND symbol with 10 different layers - so that the police cutting team could play with the whole range of toys they've got in the back of their van (pictured). They actually had two of these giant peace symbols, but only one of them was a lock on. The police were mightily confused when they couldn't punch through the second one in search of the tubes!

Buddhists and folk from Buckinghamshire transcended the protest before handing over to the Tyneside lot. The Tynesiders hit the road and the roundabout at North Gate long before dawn and caused serious delays in traffic going in to the base.

Small price to pay

The month ended with the Sussex students who extended their blockade to three days before returning to Brighton and the Smash EDO campaign.

During their stay the bridge above Faslane suddenly got decorated with things like “Trident is naughty”. The students can't wait to get back and apparently they've already had a weekend of new lock-on making back home. We are eager to see what havoc they can wreak next time!

Of course these protests don't come along without a price to be paid. According to the local paper the policing of Faslane 365 is now costing #1.7 million a month - a small price to pay for a more peaceful and secure world for all of us.

As PN goes to press Faslane 365 has 301 days left to run and there are still a few slots free! Hurry up to book your date! And if Scotland is too far away you can always pop by Aldermaston and surprise the establishment there (see cover story).

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