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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
MSPs arrested at Faslane protest
Rosie Kane
Socialist MSP Rosie Kane was among those arrested
Four members of the Scottish Parliament were arrested during an anti-nuclear protest at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde.

Scottish Socialist Party MSPs Rosie Kane and Frances Curran and Green MSPs Mark Ballard and Patrick Harvie were among dozens of people taken away.

Faslane is home to Britain's trident nuclear submarines.

Scottish CND said 350 people, including politicians and peace activists, had attempted to block its three entrances.

'Price worth paying'

The campaigners were attempting to lie down to prevent staff from entering the base, near Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute.

Mr Ballard had to be cut free from a lock he had used to attach himself to a gate at the base. He was then arrested along with Mr Harvie.

Both were taken to Maryhill police station in Glasgow where they were charged with breach of the peace and resisting arrest and released.

Mr Ballard said as he was being arrested: "It is important that people show their opposition to the absurdity of these weapons.

"I felt that the only way to do this was to join the blockade and being arrested is a price worth paying in order to be heard."

Green MSP Mark Ballard tied up to another protester
Green MSP Mark Ballard tied up to another protester
Scottish National Party leadership contender Nicola Sturgeon and her fellow Nationalist MSP Sandra White were among those who gathered at about 0700 BST.

Strathclyde Police said they had arrested 55 people at Faslane, while the Ministry of Defence arrested 15.

They included three swimmers who were caught just after midnight near a floating security boom in the water at the base, while six others were held at about 0600 BST after cutting through a fence at the facility near the A814.

An MoD spokesman said: "The security system worked and they were detected immediately."

Overseas campaigners

During the demonstration the activists sang an oratorio, which was written for Trident Ploughshares and performed at the Court of Session in Edinburgh last month in protest at the prosecution of anti-nuclear activists.

There was also an ecumenical communion service held at the north gate and attended by 25 members of the clergy from all denominations.

Kirk minister Rev David McLachlan, 47, of Langside Church, Glasgow, a member of Clergy Action, said it was his fifth year demonstrating at Faslane.

Protester hangs banner at Faslane, August 22, 2004
A protester hangs up a banner during Monday's protest
He said: "Our group believe nuclear weapons are immoral and we believe that if Jesus were alive today he would be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us in protest at these weapons."

It is thought activists had come from as far afield as Australia, America, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Ireland to join the protest.

Protest organiser David Mackenzie said: "We are again highlighting the hypocrisy of the UK Government over weapons of mass destruction.

"It launched a futile hunt for WMD, costing many thousands of lives in Iraq. Meanwhile, we ourselves have hugely costly and enormously destructive WMD."

Mr Mackenzie said the protest was geared towards causing as much disruption as possible and ensuring that Trident remained on the political agenda.

Faslane has seen a number of protests in recent years against the Trident fleet.

More than 100 people were arrested at last year's Big Blockade.

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