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Newsnight Scotland debate
Tommy Sheridan discusses Trident with Colin Campbell and Jimmy Hood
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Defence spokesman Colin Campbell
"People of Scotland are resistant to the idea of Trident"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's Penny Macmillan reports
"The Clyde is no stranger to these demonstrations"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's David Henderson reports
Trident ploughshare claim 400 people took part in the protest
 real 28k

David Platt, Christian CND
"The base is evil and immoral"
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Monday, 14 February, 2000, 23:46 GMT
150 held in Trident protest

Campaigners with heart-shaped symbol Campaigners hold a heart-shaped anti-nuclear symbol

Police have arrested more than 100 people at a Valentine's Day demonstration backed by Sir Sean Connery at the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the Clyde.

The protest by hundreds of people follows a court ruling last year that the Trident nuclear missile system was illegal under international law and attempts to disarm it were justified.

The Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy Sheridan and Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas were among those detained.

The base shouldn't be here because it's evil and immoral and irrelevant to present needs of defence strategy
David Platt, Christian CND
Before she was arrested, Dr Lucas said she would claim Parliamentary immunity if she was charged with any offences.

Immunity could only be lifted by the European Parliament following a formal debate, at which she would claim she was legally allowed to "disarm" Trident.

She added that if she was not charged, Strathclyde Police could face legal action over wrongful arrest.

The AEEU union, which represents many employees at Faslane, has condemned the protest, saying it threatens the livelihood of the 8,000 people who work there.

Separate demonstrations

Police said between 150 and 160 people had been arrested in two separate demonstrations at the main entrances to the base.

Trident Ploughshares, the group organising the demonstration, said a total of 400 protesters had blocked the entrances.

Some locked themselves to lorries and other tied themselves together.

Protester led away by police A protester is led away
But such was the scale of arrests, all for minor public order offences, that a spokesman for the group said the protest as "now realistically over except on a small scale".

The spokesman said: "The protest is still going on, but so many of our activists have been arrested that it is now continuing on a small scale.

"We are obviously delighted at the response we have had and to stop the base completely for an hour and a half in soaking weather conditions was exceptional."

Tommy Sheridan said: "It is the start of something bigger and I believe Westminster have to begin responding to the Scottish electorate who have said quite clearly they don't want Trident.

"They want jobs, they want hospitals - they do not want the money spent on scrap metal."

Connery's support

David Platt, from Christian CND, said: "The base shouldn't be here because it's evil and immoral and irrelevant to present needs of defence strategy."

A spokeswoman for the base said: "We had minimal disruption this morning for less than an hour. People are all now at their desks and the north gate opened at 8am."

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said Sir Sean had given his support to the one-day blockade.

Connery in Hunt for Red October Connery plays a sub commander in Hunt for Red October
In a fax to CND, which the peace group later released, the Hollywood star said: "I will be in Los Angeles and unfortunately cannot be there on February 14, but I am with you in spirit."

His publicist Miata Edoga added: "He very much regrets that he cannot attend the demonstration."

The demonstration follows the ruling by Sheriff Margaret Gimblett in October 1999 that the Trident system was illegal under international law, and attempts to "disarm" it were justified.

High Court review

Three women, members of the campaign organising Monday's protest, were found not guilty of charges of criminal damage by Sheriff Gimblett, sitting at Greenock Sheriff Court.

One of the women, Angela Zelter, 48, was among the first to be arrested on Monday.

The Lord Advocate, Scotland's senior law officer, has asked the High Court to rule on whether Sheriff Gimblett was right.

But the three women will keep their not guilty status regardless of the outcome of the appeal, as their acquittal was final.

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See also:
17 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Judges to examine Trident case
31 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Bond, Sir James Bond
15 Feb 99 |  UK
Arrests at anti-nuclear protest
11 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Petition challenge to Trident legality
18 Aug 98 |  UK
Protesters arrested at Faslane
16 Aug 98 |  UK
Peace protesters arrested at subs base

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