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Faslane 365 gathers momentum

Student blockaders lock on to secure the gates

Among those who are refusing to accept that the Blair/Brown decision to force through the UK’s own poisonous contribution to nuclear proliferation are those taking part in Faslane 365, the year-long continuous blockade of Faslane. Over the past 15 weeks a huge diversity of gentle but determined individuals have put their bums in the gateways, attached themselves there to each other in the most awkward fashion with tubes of various materials, climbed problematic tripods, or, more recently, pitched a tent and lit a fire in the entrance to the North gate..

These individuals have come in groups identified by their area (Sheffield, Assynt, Galloway, South West, Sweden and Finland, Cumbria, North Lancashire, Manchester, Leeds, Sussex, Benelux, Ireland etc), or by their particular field or solidarity (Greenham Women, Women in Black, Quakers, SNP, Green Party, Cyclists, Clergy, Iona Community, elected representatives, writers,academics etc.). Their approach has been varied, not only by different and unpredictable blockading times, but by the mix of colourful shenanigans, from camping right on the verges of the base to performing a horizontal can-can. The visible presence at the gates has been vibrant, with great displays of banners, music and dancing, in spite of generally miserable weather. Early on the police have put up ordinary crowd barriers in the gutters at the pavements on both sides of the North gate but they have not attempted to corral protesters in a particular place and there has been a fair bit of free movement. They have stuck by their promise to arrest people (so far 437) who go into and stay in the gateway entrances. There have been lots and lots of police, and (with a few crabby exceptions) they have behaved in a gentle manner.

With the exception of only five people who have been cited to appear in court the local Procurator Fiscal has resorted to the legally dubious tactic of holding blockaders overnight in the cells, supposedly with the option of taking them for an initial court appearance the next day, but in fact releasing them straight from the cells with a warning letter not to be a naughty person again or else.

There have been lots and lots of “first-timers” and there is huge encouragement in the way the campaign is bringing new people in to join the resistance to Trident. Many groups have been so empowered by their experience that they have decided to come back for a second two-day blockade.

Last word to a 13 year old from Edinburgh: “ Ever since I was young I have signed petitions, gone on marches and demonstrations and heard people talk about their experiences in Africa, Palestine and other places. However, I began to feel that I wasn’t being listened to, and so I decided to be part of a direct action. This is why I decided to go to Faslane.”

So how do you join in? You can either form a group of your own or join an existing group. See the fliers and the resource pack. Trainers can come and do sessions on non-violence and blockading, and there is a website jam packed with information and inspiration.

Call 08454588365 or e-mail info@faslane365.org

David MacKenzie


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