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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 17:40 GMT
Politicians held in Trident protest
protesters at Faslane naval base
The protest began about 0630 GMT
More than 100 people, including two members of the Scottish Parliament, have been arrested during an anti-nuclear protest at a submarine base in Scotland.

Politicians and clergy joined the start of a three-day demonstration against the Trident fleet, which is based at Faslane.

Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan MSP and Lloyd Quinan MSP, of the Scottish National Party, were among the first to be arrested.

I came to Faslane today to protest against the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons

Tommy Sheridan MSP

By Monday evening, Strathclyde Police had arrested 111 people and two were detained by Ministrty of Defence officers.

Organisers of the protest said they expect hundreds of people to attend from across Europe over the next few days.

Mr Sheridan was jailed for a short time last year after refusing to pay a fine imposed for his part in an earlier protest.

As he was being detained on Monday, he was told he was being charged with breach of the peace.

Tommy Sheridan carried away by police
Tommy Sheridan is carried away by police
He responded: "I came to Faslane today to protest against the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons.

"I've not, in any way, caused alarm to any other citizen. I therefore object that I have caused a breach of the peace."

The demonstration has been organised by Scottish CND and Trident Ploughshares.

One activist, Joy Mitchell, 68, from Berwick-upon-Tweed, said: "Our continued presence here is a clear message to the British Government that ordinary citizens will not tolerate them possessing and threatening to use a weapon which can only be used to kill innocent people.

"Trident doesn't and can't discriminate between mothers and marines, toddlers and commandos, the elderly and the military."

'Morally wrong'

About 30 ministers and priests are said to be taking part in the action.

The Reverend Alan Macdonald, convenor of the Church and Nation Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: "These weapons of mass destruction are morally and theologically wrong.

"In fact it is blasphemy to have weapons of this kind which have no good purpose at all."

Trident Ploughshares
Name comes from biblical phrase "to beat swords into ploughshares"
Ploughshares actions began in 1980 in the US
It is part of the international disarmament movement
It believes in non-violent direct protest
It believes nuclear weapons are immoral and irresponsible
It protests at Trident installations
Blockade spokesman David Mackenzie said: "The real achievement has been to get Trident back on the political agenda where it has recently been discussed by the Scottish Parliament.

"We believe our efforts have helped rebuild the anti-nuclear movement, certainly in Scotland, and the challenge is to do the same in England."

At the beginning of February, seven anti-Trident activists were arrested at the Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth during a protest against the refitting of the nuclear weapons submarine, HMS Vanguard.

The submarines' usual base is at Faslane, but it was transported to the south coast for the essential work.

Persistent campaign

Anti-nuclear weapons campaigners have been protesting at Faslane during the month of February for more than three years.

Last year, 379 people were arrested, including 15 churchmen, Labour MP George Galloway, Mr Sheridan and Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas.

It was the biggest anti-nuclear demo seen in Scotland since the early 1960s.

Faslane is home to the four-strong Trident submarine fleet.

Each vessel has 16 missile tubes and the weapons are said be accurate to within 100 yards.

Reevel Alderson reports
"Among those arrested was Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan"
David Mackenzie, protest organiser
"We want to make an impact on a facility which we believe is carrying out illegal and immoral work"
See also:

04 May 01 | UK
No nukes is good nukes
22 Oct 01 | Scotland
Faslane protest sparks 170 arrests
20 Sep 01 | Scotland
CND leader fined after protest
07 Apr 01 | Scotland
Nuclear base protest arrests
13 Feb 01 | Scotland
New Trident submarine in service
18 Dec 00 | Scotland
MSP jailed over anti-nuclear fine
14 Feb 00 | Scotland
150 held in Trident protest
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