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Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2001 12:04:49 -0000
Subject: [act-locally] Think Globally 42 - March 2001

T h e   B i g   B l o c k a d e

Feb 2001 will be remembered for a long time. It's the month Tony Blair agreed to allow the Americans to use British bases, necessary for their Star Wars plan (NMD), and pushed the world into a new nuclear arms race. Hopefully February will also be remembered for an unprecedented act of resistance by ordinary people against the evil of nuclear weapons.

Over 1000 people turned up before 7am on 12 Feb to close Faslane Trident Base down. There are 2 gates leading to the base, and protesters lay in the road, linked arms, or locked themselves with Heath Robinson cunning into immovable challenges for the police. Even earlier, at 1.30am, people from Faslane Peace Camp had set up a 20ft tripod outside the south gate, helping to keep the gate blocked until after midday.

The scene before the north gate was awe-inspiring, dawn rose over the loch to reveal hundreds of protesters blocking the police from clearing the road. There was little the police could do, so many people were willing to get arrested they couldn't cope, and from 9am- 12 noon we won. This led to a surreal atmosphere, people sat in the sun, waiting for something to happen in an increasingly picnic-like affair.

Of course things changed, a new shift of bizzies arrived and the last stand was made (!) at the north gate around 12. 24 campaigners from the North East got pinched, most of them in the last action. Although prosecution is unlikely, they had to spend 18hours+ in the Glasgow police cells and deserve our deepest respect. In all 385 people were arrested in a day that succeeded in severely disrupting a base whose sole aim is to plan the murder of millions.

A new spirit of resistance is emerging. The NMD project has woken up a lot of people. Tony Blair will only change his mind on Star Wars if there is the prospect of mass protest that surpasses Greenham Common. The size and determination of the Big Blockade should be a foretaste of our protests at Fylingdales Base.


Contact: Faslane Peace Camp, Shandon, Helensburgh, G84 8NT
Phone: (01436) 820 901
email: or

For more about the camp see
For more on ploughshares see


R e a d e r ' s   R a n t   -   be a realist if you want to stay human

Standing in a queue, talking to my neighbour, as you do. Asking where he came from, was he enjoying his day out in the country, as you do. He a policeman, number K83 from Strathclyde Police, I one of the 373 arrests at Faslane that morning, the queue of arrestees waiting to be photographed and put in the police van.

Talked about the sunny weather, as you do, and how beautiful the surrounding hills looked. Probably then that K83 said something like, "Yes, but a pity about the base, that's not so beautiful." Went back to talking about his shift times, remarked on the absence of CS gas spray, and agreed that ordinary police carrying guns is a bad idea. Nothing extraordinary, very Trident Ploughshares, sanctimonious twaddle perhaps.

I don't like embarrassing policemen in front of their mates, so I hesitated before asking the next question. But we had talked easily enough so far, so I thought it was OK to ask, "Do you think we'll ever be rid of these nuclear weapons?" He paused, before replying, "I hope so." Then back to tangential questions about protests, policing, the weather, and long periods of silent waiting.

What was achieved? Nothing to get rid of Trident, or further a revolution, or radicalise society. I was colluding with the state, no doubt, by being nice to a copper. Achieved nothing, changed nothing, made the repressive work of state forces easier not harder. Quakers might say I was 'speaking truth to power;' Chomsky would say it's a waste of time; he'd be right, wouldn't he?

But there's going to be no revolution in the next few years. He was just an ordinary policeman, I just another of thousands of protesters. Sometimes a bit of shared humanity is worth a bit of collusion. Society's in a mess, so why not enjoy a bit of simple human contact while we can?

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