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First hand account from the Devonport blockade

For Ray | 01.11.2010 21:57 | Anti-militarism | Ecology

Report by Ray Davies of Trident Ploughshares and CND Cymru about today's Devonport blockade.

The blockade of Devonport Dock's nuclear base was a tremendous success. The Welsh contingent joined hundreds of activists to stop the flow of traffic through both the port's gates.

As an experienced Trident Ploughshares peace activist, I was asked to join a Swiss group who wanted help in their action.

We spent Sunday evening planning our tactics, and then crawled into our sleeping bags for a restless night's sleep.

Up at 4:15, we hurriedly ate muesli and made up our packed lunches at the same time. We boarded the minibus at 5 a.m. and dodged the police, as we linked our heavy duty cables to each other. As one group created a diversion, we threw ourselves to the ground and locked on to the dockyard

The police, thinking they were dealing with soft Europeans, started to manhandle our protesters, but I gave them a tongue lashing. "Stop that violence this minute!" I said. "This is a peaceful nonviolent direct action against nuclear weapons. If anyone gets injured, you will be reported to the Police Complaints commission; so leave us alone!"

Hesitating, they fell back in line. "You shouldn't be here", the Inspector said.
"Nukes are obscene" the crowd shouted back. "It's your planet we want to save".

A carnival atmosphere prevailed, with music from harmonicas, jaws harps, singing; and peace songs from all over Europe - Wales, Germany, France, Switzerland.

After four hours of solid blockade, with not a single vehicle coming through the gates, the police arrived with their bolt cutters. They warned us several times to move, but we all refused. They took our names and personal details. The police photographer took our photos, and we were dragged and
carried away from the roadway. The police inspector told me and another protester that we would be charged with aggravated trespass, which is a criminal offence.

As they pulled the last young person away from the road, we chanted alongside our international friends:
"We were at the last blockade, we'll be at the next blockade, we'll be at the last blockade when all the world's evil nuclear are thrown into the dustbin and the planet is given back to our children".

Ray Davies
CND Cymru

For Ray