Non-stop nukestopping

IssueMarch - May 2004
News by Sophie Reynolds

Trident Ploughshares (TP) activists seem fuelled by something as long lasting as radioactivity, never ceasing in taking bites, sometimes mosquito size, at the bases and companies in England and Scotland that manufacture and protect Britain's weapons of mass destruction.

In February, Lockheed Martin, the world's largest manufacturer and exporter of weapons, had their London offices visited by four TP women who locked staff out of the arms giant's HQ for six hours. Amazingly there were no arrests.

Seven TP activists were found guilty after their February trial for blockading the HQ of Rolls Royce, dragging the prestigious company into the WMD limelight. As well as making expensive and large cars, the company also makes and refurbishes fuel rods for the nuclear reactor cores of Britain's nuclear submarines.

Local heroes

At the two poles of Trident Ploughshares activity - Faslane and Coulport in Scotland and at the other end of the island Devonport on the south coast of England - regular irregular creative disruption continues with both scheduled camps and surprise actions.

As part of the “non-stopnukestop” campaign, seasonal giant Christmas crackers were carried up to a gate at Coulport days before Christmas, moments later they had been cracked open to become “lock-on” tubes for the “Local Heroes” affinity group to use in a quick blockade.

Erratic responses

Evidence that TP is successfully being more than an irritant is apparent in the Scottish legal system's responses to the ever growing mountain of TP trials facing the courts - 411 trials to-date, with many pending.

Trident Ploughshares activists have now clocked up more than 2,000 days in prison, resulting from just over 2, 000 arrests (And no, unfortunately that doesn't mean you get a day in prison for each arrest! Read on...)

Recent sentencing of TP activists in the Scottish courts has been erratic, on the one hand several cases against activists have been dismissed - ostensibly because the prosecution fails to make a complete case or produce witness - on the other hand in recent weeks tougher sentences have been handed out, with several 7 and 14-day prison sentences and particularly large fines, including a £325 fine for handing out leaflets during a blockade.

Several TP activists continue awaiting trial for related actions carried out during the Iraq war.

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