Faslane Peace Camp
Faslane Peace Camp is a permanent peace camp sited alongside Faslane Naval base in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It has been occupied continuously, in a few different locations, since 12 June 1982. In 1984 the book Faslane:Diary of a Peace Camp was published, co-written by the members of the peacecamp at the time.
The site and look of the camp has varied considerably over the years, depending on the number and attitude of the residents. At one point there were two sites (one at each main gate) with distinct political attitudes (roughly characterised as anarchist and socialist). The camp is well established with mains water, a conventional toilet, a telephone, a large kitchen and living room, hot water and a bath, and planning permission for 12 caravans. The tenancy was ended 5 years ago when the council borders changed. The new council then organised an eviction order but decided not to waste money on a large-scale eviction.
Camp residents have occasionally breached the security of the Naval Base by getting inside the fence, by canoeing or swimming into the base, by successfully disrupting the road transportation of the Trident missile warheads, which are heavily guarded by the Special Escort Group (Ministry of Defence Police), and by blockading the two gates. They are also active, with Trident Ploughshares and CND in large public blockades of the base, attended by members of the public and a few politicians. Such annual events aim to keep the base closed for as long as possible by preventing its staff from arriving for work, and usually involve large numbers of protesters being arrested.
The Faslane 365 campaign is an effort to establish a continuous protest at the base for a 365-day period using autonomous groups of 100 people.
The campaign was launched in September 2006 with the first protest action commencing on 1 October 2006 carried out by a campaigning group of women associated with protests at Greenham Common.
Arrests were made on 2 October of 12 women, and on 9 October of 7 unspecified people. On 16 October 23 Swedes and 19 Finns were arrested.
There had been 473 arrests up to 8 January 2007. The most recent independent corroboration of the number of arrests appeared in The Guardian on 12 December 2006, in an article which reported that there had been 344 arrests up to that date. On 7 January 2007 a group of around 40 world-renowned academics including Sir Richard Jolly and 25 students from Oxford, Cambridge, Sussex and Edinburgh held a seminar discussing the replacement of the trident missiles at the base. Protesters subsequently managed to stage the most successful blockade of the campaign (apart from a negotiated three day blockage over Christmas) so far closing the North Gate for six hours. All those who blockaded were arrested and held overnight. The majority of these arrests have been for breach of the peace, with 22 prosecutions being made so far: the vast majority of arrested protesters are released, receiving a letter from the Procurator Fiscal's office explaining that although "evidence is sufficient to justify my bringing you before the Court on this criminal charge", the Procurator Fiscal has "decided not to take such proceedings".
The presence of the Faslane base is also an issue in Scottish politics. The Scottish National Party, the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Green Party all oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons, although the Scottish National Party have made assurances that they would retain the base for the servicing of conventionally armed and powered naval units. The issue of Trident is a reserved matter dealt with at Westminster, rather than nationally in Scotland.
It is not unusual for members of these Scottish political parties, and indeed some from the Labour Party, to attend rallies outside Faslane. One of its founder members, Les Robertson, went on to become a Labour Party Councillor on the local Dumbarton Council and is a regular candidate for the Scottish Socialist Party. Robertson has served two prison sentences for protests he has taken part in at the Faslane base, the first in 1983 when he was still resident at the camp, and the most recent in 2005. Various other Scottish politicians have been involved in protests at Faslane.
- Members of the Peace Camp. Faslane:Diary of a Peace Camp. Edinburgh: Polygon Edinburgh. ASIN B00160BX72. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
- "Activists Break Into Top UK Nuke Base In Tsunami Aid Protest". IndyMedia. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Kayak action at Faslane". IndyMedia. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Protesters Stop Nuclear Weapons Convoy". Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Faslane Blockaded - All Gates Closed Down". IndyMedia. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Dozens arrested at base protest". BBC News. 17 October 2006. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Welcome to Faslane 365!". Faslane365 website. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- Hanson, Michele (12 December 2006). "First you believe in Father Christmas, then you pretend to. Finally, you are Father Christmas". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "letter". Procurator Fiscal Service. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- "Scottish Socialist Party candidates: 6. Les Robertson". Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- Robertson, Les (12 February 2007). "War and Breach of the Peace". Retrieved 2008-08-03.[dead link]
- Scott, Kirsty (October 23, 2001). "Battle lines drawn at British submarine base:Local workers defy protesters over Trident 's role in theatre of war". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-03.