Welcome to Peace News, the newspaper for the UK grassroots peace and justice movement. We seek to oppose all forms of violence, and to create positive change based on cooperation and responsibility. See more

"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

  • facebook
  • rss
  • twitter

Scottish police dismantle Trident sub

Early on 11 March officers from Lothian and Borders Police dismantled a large model Trident nuclear weapon submarine which had blocked the street outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh for 14 hours in a challenge to the Parliament to take a stand against Britain's weapons of mass destruction.

At 10am on 10 March the submarine had approached the Parliament building and, as it crossed the Canongate, peace activists on the inside, from Trident Ploughshares and the Theatre of War group, locked on to each other, using tubing and clips.

The 25-foot model straddled the busy thoroughfare, allowing only emergency vehicles and other essential traffic to pass.

Parliamentary support

The 15 people inside came from far and wide across the UK and included Trident Ploughshares pledger Rosie Kane (pictured), who is also an MSP. As soon as the news reached the inside of the building MSPs and researchers from three parties came out to give the campaigners their support.

MSP Carolyn Leckie was expelled from the debating chamber after refusing to give up a placard which explained that Rosie Kane was absent because she had discovered weapons of mass destruction.

No rush then

For nearly eleven hours the police were content to take a low profile but after a final warning at 9pm the police moved the supporters away from the model sub, with the exception of two activists acting as legal observers.

The police then began the task of disentangling the activists from the framework of the model. Due to equipment failure and an obvious lack of experience, it took them three and a quarter hours to remove very simple lock-ons.

Should know better!

The first activist to be cut out suffered severe pain as his wrists were cruelly clamped behind his back by quick cuffs. Following angry protests the officers moderated their use of the cuffs on the other nine who were arrested.

There was also surprise and anger as police called a fire brigade unit to help with the cutting-out task. After Rosie Kane loudly and insistently pointed out to the firemen that they were breaching their own rules by helping police in an operation which did not involve risk to human life, they desisted.

The activists were all charged with obstructing the traffic.

Trident Ploughshares, 42-46 Bethel St, Norwich NR2 1NR (email tp2000@gn.apc.org; http:// www.tridentploughshares.org). For other submarine adventures, see http://www.peacenews.info/