All gates into the base were blockaded for three hours on a Monday morning, from 7am to 10am. Those arrested ranged in age from 19 to 83 and came from across Scotland, Wales and England.
Students, pensioners, environmentalists and activists from a dozen campaign groups and political parties lay down in the entrance to the base and locked themselves together with metal and plastic tubes, chains and ‘thumb-cuffs’ (handcuffs for thumbs). They demanded the UK disarm the Trident weapons system, fund human needs – welfare, education, pensions, disability benefits, and green jobs – and let Scotland lead the way to a world free of nuclear weapons.
The blockade was one of more than 100 ‘Global Day of Action on Military Spending’ protests calling for deep reductions in military spending, and followed a demonstration in Glasgow on 13 April when thousands of protesters called for the government to ‘Scrap Trident’.
Protester (and Peace News Summer Camper) Roy St Pierre from Lancashire said: ‘I’ve cycled to Scotland to say that nuclear weapons are morally abhorrent and also to support the Scottish people in making the scrapping of Trident a reality. An independent non-nuclear Scotland would be a beacon to the rest of the world.’
Laurie Ross of Christchurch NZ, a Grandmother for Peace whose father initiated the campaign which successfully made New Zealand a nuclear-weapons-free zone, joined the blockaders at Faslane before going on to Edinburgh for a meeting of the international nuclear disarmament campaigning network Abolition 2000.
Disability Rights campaigner and WOW petition organiser Susan Archibald of Kelty in Fife took part in the protest: ‘I am really pleased that the Scrap Trident coalition is taking a stance to “Defend Disability Rights” and I hope other organisations and groups will join them. The money saved from scrapping Trident could cushion the blow for everyone affected by “welfare reform”. So much work is needed now in local communities as the most vulnerable people and their families are under attack by this government.’