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Brighton blockade for peace

Tim Konar | 28.11.2006 17:25 | Faslane | Anti-militarism | Ecology | Education | South Coast

This weekend, from Sunday over to Monday, saw a large group of students from Sussex University travel to Scotland to play their part in the audacious civil resistance initiative, 'Faslane 365', which began on October the first 2006 to apply critical public pressure for the disarmament of Britain's nuclear weapons. Groups from all over Scotland, England, and Wales and beyond have been invitied to come down and shut the base for a period of time suitable to them.

Over 35 students raised their concerns about Britains involvment in nuclear proliferation. At midday on Sunday over 15 people surrounded the roundabout outside north entrance of Faslane base. Several students were dressed as clowns in bright face paint. Several other students locked on with bike locks to each other in the middle of the road whilst cars piled up behind. At 12.55 the first arrests were made for breach of peace and 13.07 the first blockade was broken and students were taken to local police stations. In all, 12 students were arrested out of 27 protestors. These students were confronted by approximately 40 police.

Monday morning witnessed a further mass action by Sussex students. The main road to both South and North entrance to the base were blockaded by two blocks of students lying together with bike locks in the middle of the road. For over 60 minutes students loudly sang and voiced their protest at the potential dangerous consequences fo nuclear weapons to society. Twelve further students were arrested for 'breach of peace.'

The Sussex blockade has been organised for over six months, delegating roles of legal support, medical advice, full blockaders and media support. The students say on their literature handed out on the day that nuclear weapons are inextricably linked with their education. Emilia Aaltonen, first year international and development studies student said:

£40 billion is a lot of money to spent on an illegal business. This year is the first year of top up fees. More and more money is being put by the government into the defence budget rather than into public services, health and our education and for our children too. This has gone far enough- it makes you wonder exactly who is breaching the peace?!'

Adam Farrell, neuro- science student said:

'Nuclear weapons are a grotesque use of taxpayers funds and they just add to developing a climate of fear. As a student and a young person, it is my duty to increase awareness and do what I can to open politcal debate about the subject which I think is in great danger of being hushed and rushed by the government.'

Responding to the accusation from Defence Secretary Margaret Grantham that the Faslane protestors were 'reckless and irresponsible', Miriam Rose, one of the students involved in the blockade, said: ' That's not bad , coming from a ministry that runs one of the world's most deadly nuclear arsenals. Our presence here today is peaceful, careful and considered. Brighton's residents are very conscious of the UK's WMD as we have our own weapons bases in Brighton, namely EDO MBM. It's thrilling to be a small link in this amazing chain of people power.'

Faslane 365 has already led to over 350 arrests and has caused a huge amount of disruption to the running of the base.

Altogether 140 groups from around Scotland and from further afield have already committed to taking part in the year-long blockade.

Notes to the Editor:

£40 billion has been prioritised in New Labour's political agenda to keep nuclear weapons in Scotland until at least 2055.

The warheads deployed in the giant submarines based at Faslane could deliver around 8 times the destructive power of the bombs that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Photos: These photos are taken from the Sunday blockade


Tim Konar, Sussex resident: 07985478884/ 07765501687
Photos and digital film footage from Paul Choy on 01273603329
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Tim Konar
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