On 30 November nearly 1500 people turned up at Faslane naval base for the Trident Still Has to Go Now demonstration. It was the biggest single day protest at the nuclear weapons base in decade, indicative of the depth and breadth of disaffection with the UK basing of its weapons of mass destruction in Scotland against the will of the people. This was the first of three protest events planned to call on the UK government to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons system. Trident Ploughshares is one of several groups in Scotland that formed the Scrap Trident coalition which is organising this series of protests.
This was a distinctly Scottish protest. People travelled from Assynt in the north, from Fort William, the Borders, and in large numbers from Glasgow, Edinburgh and the central belt. Polls show that 75% of people in Scotland, whether they voted Yes or No in the independence referendum and the Scrap Trident Coalition is working to ensure that the voice of Scotland’s opposition to Trident be heard loud and clear in the run up to the General election with the goal of stopping the replacement of Trident when it comes up for a decision in early 2016.
After walking along the base perimeter fence they arrived at the north gate, filling the entry bell-mouth and spilling out into the near side of the roadway. There they made a noise that could be heard in Westminster. Penny Stone led the assemblage in singing Down by the Riverside (and study war no more), Bobby Nicolson performed his anti-Trident songs. Lisa Rigby revived the civil rights anthem Keep You Eyes on the Prize and poet Gerry Loose read poems with an anti Trident theme from his new book Fault Line while Scrap Trident’s David Mackenzie read one of his own poems.
For many this was the first visit to the operational base of the UK’s nuclear weapon submarines. The reaction of Murray Dickie from Stirling was typical. He said:
“Walking along the miles of razor wire-guarded perimeter fence you realise what a huge financial cost this place is – never mind the abomination of what’s stored behind it. Great company, huge good spirits – awful contradiction with a nuclear arsenal just a few hundred metres away!”
People tied messages of their hopes for peace and disarmament all along the weld mesh perimeter fence. Three Samba Bands and the Protest in Harmony singing group created a Carnival atmosphere.
Mainstream media covered the story. BBC reported that “Hundreds Protest Against Nuclear Weapons at Faslane” with a photo featuring Scottish CND’s larger than life “Big Sandy” giant puppet. The Scotsman headline read: Carnival Atmosphere at Faslane Trident Protest.” The Herald said “Nearly a thousand people gathered at Faslane.” There was TV coverage by BBC Reporting Scotland which noted that “no arrests were made” and STV.
Next up for the Scrap Trident coalition are a mass demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday the 28th of March and a blockade of Faslane on Monday 13th April in anticipation of the next general election. The next Westminster Parliament will determine whether to replace Trident at a cost of up to £100Bilion. Help make sure the government hear Scotland’s voice of opposition to nuclear weapons and join us in Glasgow and at Faslane. SAVE the DATES!!
There are lots more photos on our Facebook page. If you have photos or know of more photos that we can add to the album please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are thinking of joining us for the Big Blockade in April please drop us an email and keep checking back here for more information coming soon.
Well done everyone for a great day.