At approximately 6:30 am a group of people from the peace camp assembled by the road leading to the base just by the south gate. After waiting for one of the patrolling police vans to drive past, they pulled part of the fence of the peace camp out into the middle of the road creating a temporary boundary between themselves and the police who were not much more than 100 metres away. Behind this fence they had hidden 2 large oil barrel lock-ons which were rolled out onto the road, 3 people locked onto them in a line then 3 others joined them with 2 tough steel lock-on tubes, and another “baby” oil-drum lock on creating a daisy chain of six people with 5 pretty hardcore lock-ons.
It took the police about 20 seconds to arrive on the scene by which point they had successfully blockaded the main road between Helensburgh and the base. The police called for back up and for the cutting teams and within minutes there were between 30 and 40 police on the scene. They immediately got to work cutting into the lock-ons and were as usual very concerned not to let anybody see what sort of cutting equipment they were using to the extent that they erected large visual barriers to conceal their work. Peace campers did however manage to get footage of their equipment from our birds eye observers in the trees. They had 3 separate cutting units at work on us yet it still took them 130 minutes to clear the road. 7 people were arrested at this incident 6 for blockading and one for possessing a rope and harness.
As this blockade was happening a second group blockaded the entrance to the base at the north gate. The group of Trident Ploughshares blockaded the round-about by chaining their bicycles together and locking themselves to them with D-locks around their necks. Others were arrested for simply cycling around the roundabout slowly. This blockade was successful in shutting down the road for half an hour. Both blockades together ensured that the work of the base was severely disrupted for the whole morning.
Of the 20 people arrested all have been released but 3 of the releases were under condition that they will appear in court on the 20th of December. These are the first of the 360 odd people that have been arrested to be formally charged with breach of the peace and gives an opportunity for the first time since the launch of Faslane 365 to actually bring the legality of the Trident system into question in court. Particularly important since the announcement by Blair that Trident is to be replaced despite being illegal under international law.
We are now witnessing an escalation of the campaign against the spectre of nuclear war. Expect to see much more civil society resistance throughout next year as the Faslane 365 campaign comes to a climax.
Simple steel lock-on tubes are great but can be cut into in 20 minutes with a specialist drill head. The yellow pipes with a 2 cm thick wall are also great because the plastic actually melts around the drill head making them very hard to get into.
To make an oil drum lock-on you simply need an oil drum and some piping - preferably steel - which is just wide enough to fit your arm in and no more, cut so that it is as long as the barrel is wide. Drill a hole in the middle of this pipe section so that a metal rod can be inserted, this is what you actually lock on to. Cut holes on either side of the barrel so that this pipe can fit in in such a way that two people can lock-on on either side. Then simply fill this barrel with concreate and all sorts of hell like scraps of metal (lengths of thick steal wire will hold it together), megamorphic rock (very solid rock), quartz and the odd diamond if you want to bling it up, lengths of shredded polyprop is also very good at stopping the break-up of concreate from the wrath of a jack hammer. If you wanna be real hardcore putting in canisters of camping gas or lighter filler make the cops quite reluctant to cut into them (or even just saying you have, they wont take the risk), this is of course pretty dangerous. It will take the most skilled cutting crew in the country at least a couple of hours to cut you out of there. Two people locked on is better than one because with one person they may just try to lift it out of there with a fork lift truck, two bodies makes this far less likely.
The “Baby barrel” lock on is much more portible, fitting into a normal ruck-sack this one is for the blockader on the go. Its just a steel lock on tube inserted into a small barrel lengthways, its a similar idea as the oil barrel lock on with the concrete mass surrounding where you are locked on to the other person inside the tube. It is a little easier to cut into but its portability and ease of construction makes this the one to have this christmas.
Portability is often an important factor. Being able to stash and camoflage your lock-on will help here but always have a plan B if it gets found. The police will eventually be able to cut you out, no material is unbreakable but the longer you can hold your blockade the more you will have achieved out of your eventual arrest. Happy blockading.