12 Belgians arrested at illegal Scottish nuclear weapons base
Glasgow, 22nd April 2003- Anti-nuclear campaigners from Voor Moeder Aarde,
the Belgian anti-nuclear campaign, have joined a mass sit-down blockade of
the British Trident nuclear submarine base at Faslane, 30 miles west of
Glasgow this morning. The activists from Gent, and other cities in Belgium,
have joined several hundreds of anti-nuclear activists from across Britain
and the rest of Europe, to shut down the illegal nuclear weapons base. So
far, there have been over 100 arrests.
Among the other people taking part in the blockade are Members of the
Scottish Parliament John Swinney (the leader of the Scottish National Party),
Sandra White (Scottish National Party), Lloyd Quinnen (Scottish National
Party), Tommy Sheridan (leader of the Scottish Socialist Party), John
MacCallion (Labour Party), Robin Harper (Green Party), as well as leaders of
various churches in Scotland.
The blockade began at 7am to disrupt the main shift change at the base, and
will last until 5pm. Activists have fastened themselves together using rope
and chain, and are sitting in the road outside the main entrances to the base.
The nonviolent direct action has been organised by Trident Ploughshares and
Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and is designed to prevent work
for the day at the nuclear weapons base. The campaigners draw attention to
the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in 1996, which
stated that "the use or threat of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary
to the principles of international law". This is because nuclear weapons
cannot distinguish between civilians and soldiers, would cause unnecessary
suffering, and would affect countries not involved in conflict.
There are four Trident nuclear powered and nuclear armed submarines based at
Faslane. Each submarine carries nuclear weapons with an explosive power
equivalent to 400 Hiroshima bombs.
The base is also home to British "hunter-killer" nuclear powered submarines
that were recently used in cruise missile attacks on Iraq.
A spokesperson for Voor Moeder Aarde stated "These weapons are illegal,
immoral, and a waste of money. They are designed to kill and injure millions
of innocent people, and they make the world a more dangerous place. This is
clearly not just a problem for Britain, because if these weapons were ever
used, the damaging affects of radiation would spread around the world. For
this reason, we have travelled to Scotland to take part in this action. We
are calling on the activists who have come to this blockade to join us at the
next mass action we plan in Belgium, at the Supreme Headquarter of the Allied
Powers in Europe (SHAPE), at Bergen, on 25th October this year."
For more information: Trident Ploughshares website
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