On 22 April, between 600 and 700 anti-nuclear protesters converged on Faslane Naval Base - home to Britain's Trident nuclear submarine fleet -for the “Really Big Blockade”. A series of blockades kept the two (North and South) gates of the base closed for eight and five hours respectively.
Affinity groups came from all over Europe and beyond to participate in the day of action, highlighting western hypocrisy over the deployment of weapons of mass destruction. Many had prepared for creative blockading, with one group performing an “acrobatic blockade” and plenty of serious lock-ons.
More than 170 people had been arrested by the end of the day, with seven activists found inside the high security base after gaining entry on three separate occasions.
Since the campaign began five years ago - to peacefully disarm Trident - more than 2000 people have been arrested for taking direct action at Trident-related sites around Britain, resulting in nearly 2000 days spent in prison and more than £50,000 in fines and compensation against activists. A Trident Ploughshares spokesperson said “These are impressive statistics but what is really inspiring is the commitment to peace that it represents, with so many people willing to risk criminal convictions and ready to speak out in court about their absolute intolerance of nuclear insanity.”
Future international disarmament camps in 2003 are due to be held at AWE Aldermaston (Trident production and maintenance), Coulport (Trident warhead store and loading for submarine deployment) and Devenport (dockyard where Trident submarine HMS Vanguard is currently undergoing a refit).