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Leeds University Faslane Trip

Leeds Anti-Trident | 13.03.2007 16:06 | Faslane

We were a very small group considering we were supposed to represent over 20,000 students. There were only 8 of us! We therefore decided not to blockade because to do anything really effective would have taken all of us, leaving none to be a presence.

On Sunday we arrived in Helensburgh and were then driven to the Peace Camp by the steering group, thank you very much! We had our briefing while having much needed cups of tea and had a small discussion of tactics but soon felt we wanted to get started. We arrived outside North Gate at about midday. The police were surprised at the small number and had been expecting us for a while. They seemed relieved that we had finally arrived to give them some people to talk to. The inspector in charge came and introduced himself and explained that as long as we stayed on the pavement we could protest without a problem but if we went into the road we would be warned once and then arrested. We felt that was a very good thing to have done and it set up a good relationship with the police, which we maintained throughout. It rained practically the whole time we were there and the painted letters on our banner started to run but I played some folk tunes and we maintained our spirits by dancing and singing the Trident song, which I feel is becoming rather famous. We maintained a presence for about 4 hours and then headed back to the Peace Camp to take a look at lock-ons in the process of being made. Then we headed back to Glasgow to our Salvation Army hall, where we were staying.

On Monday we got up at 4 in the morning in order to be at the gate for 7. There were about 50 police there, which was rather flattering considering there were only 8 of us. However, by about 8.30 they had realised we weren’t going to blockade and relaxed, a large number going back to the vans. There was a different inspector in charge but he also came over; introduced himself and explained the ground rules. We found the Monday police a lot more open in expressing political opinions. Although the police on both days had been keen to talk to us in order to find out as much as possible, the police on Monday engaged us in conversation about what we thought of the war in Iraq, New Labour and other such topics. One policeman stated that he thought the troops should be brought home.

About 1.30PM a photographer came over from Sky news and took photos of us and the base. He said the report will come out this or tomorrow evening. We sang the Trident song for him and did some dancing, which hopefully generated some publicity.

The weather was much friendlier on Monday and we tried some diversion tactics, e.g. pairs wandering off in different directions at the same time and whispering and pointing. However, at no point did we look as though we were about to blockade and this helped a lot with police relations. They praised us for one of the most peaceful blockades they had seen and seemed respectful that instead of getting arrested by lunchtime we stayed there as a visual presence. We had the Quaker umbrellas and also yellow capes to go with our yellow banner so it was a bright, very visual protest. We took several photos, which will be uploaded in the next day or two.

We left at about 2PM in order to get back to Glasgow in time for our train back to Leeds. We were very tired but very happy to have done it and we are now all really enthusiastic about drumming up support for the national student protest in summer. We will definitely be back.

Leeds Anti-Trident



13.03.2007 17:04

Here's some photos of our trip to Faslane.

Leeds Faslane