Concerns over call for police not to arrest anti-Trident protesters

Police have been urged to ignore appeals not to arrest protesters at a ‘blockade’ of the Faslane naval base next week.

The Scrap Trident Coalition says it made the request at a meeting with Police Scotland last week, according to a press report here.

George Freeman: Serious concerns.
George Freeman: Serious concerns.

But local councillor George Freeman says he would have ‘serious concerns’ if police went along with the request at the event on Monday April 13.

Previous demonstrations at HM Naval Base Clyde have seen the A814 closed for long periods, causing chaos for local people trying to travel to work or education at Helensburgh and beyond.

In a letter to Supt Helen Swann, Cllr Freeman said the main road had often been blocked by previous events.

“It also stopped or delayed schoolchildren travelling from my Lomond North ward to Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh,” he said.

“Long detours had to be taken which caused constituents to be late for work or school. Such problems were condemned by myself and many other law-abiding people throughout the Helensburgh and Lomond Area.”

Cllr Freeman said that talks had been held with Trident Ploughshares 2000 – the group whose original aim was to scrap Trident by the end of the last millennium – had ended in agreement that the road would be kept open; the situation had become so bad at one stage that residents were staging their protests against the ant-nuclear demos.

“I believe that it is essential that we do not return to the bad old days when the A814 was closed on a regular basis,” said Cllr Freeman.

“As I have done on many occasions in the past, I would wish to make it clear that I support the individual’s right to demonstrate, but only when it does not impact on the rights of others to go about the business freely and without interruption.

He has asked for a series of assurances from police:

  • No agreement has been reached with those taking part in the demonstration or blockade that there will be no arrests
  • That Police Scotland will not ignore criminal activity at this demonstration or blockade
  • That Police Scotland officers will ensure that every action possible will be taken so as to ensure that the A814 at Faslane remains open so as to allow free passage along the public highway
  • That details of the discussions at the meeting held between Police Scotland and the organisers of the demonstration/blockade on April 1, and any agreement reached between the two parties, be provided as soon as possible

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