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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Protest at submarine base
Submarine at Faslane Naval base
Submarines at Faslane are equipped with Trident missiles
More than a hundred anti-nuclear protesters been arrested at the Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde.

Police used cutting equipment to remove some demonstrators who had linked themselves together with plastic pipes.

The protesters are calling for the nuclear base to be closed and are accusing the government of hypocrisy over weapons of mass destruction.

Former chairman of CND Bruce Kent was among those arrested as protesters sat down outside the north gate and refused to move.

Big blockade

Scores of demonstrators, many carrying placards and waving flags, had arrived at the base, the home of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines, at 0700 BST.

The Big Blockade Rally, organised by anti-nuclear weapons group Trident Ploughshares, aimed to disrupt the base by attempting to prevent workers from getting inside.

Tigger MacGregor, a spokeswoman for Trident Ploughshares, said the aim of the demonstration was to maximise disruption at the base.

She said: "That's why some of the demonstrators are wearing plastic piping, it makes it harder for the police to move them away from the area.

Obviously these people have a right to express their feelings but our workers have an equal right to come to work
A Faslane spokesman

"It maximises disruption and it allows the blockade to continue as long as possible."

A spokesman for Strathclyde police said 135 people were arrested and that the force had been well prepared for the demonstration.

He said: "Months of planning have gone into getting ready for today's demonstration and there have been meetings between both sides in advance.

"They know what to expect from us and we know what to expect from them, so far everything has gone as planned and there has been no surprises."

The protest was disruptive for workers arriving at the base.

Extra day

However, three coach-loads of workers were able to get into the site.

A Faslane base spokeswoman said: "Obviously these people have a right to express their feelings but our workers have an equal right to come to work.

"Some of our workers have taken an extra day off as Easter holidays or are working from home.

"But the protest is disruptive for our workers and people trying to get into Helensburgh."

Labour MP fined over Faslane demo
10 Jul 02  |  Scotland
MSP cleared of nuclear base protest
25 Jun 02  |  Scotland
Faslane protest sparks 170 arrests
22 Oct 01  |  Scotland
MSP cleared of protest charge
08 Oct 01  |  Scotland
CND leader fined after protest
20 Sep 01  |  Scotland

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