Protests at Vengeance Launch

Three full coaches travelled from Manchester to the VSEL shipyard at Barrow in Cumbria to show dissent at the launch of the fourth Trident nuclear submarine, "Vengeance". Over 250 people turned out to join the colourful protest. Banners were hung over the bridge, whistles were blown, and drums banged in the beautiful sunshine. The ominous black hulk of Vengeance became visible at 11:40am as the huge doors drew back for it to trundle forward on its bogey. We noisily made our feelings clear, then listened to the voices of sanity including Bruce Kent (International Peace Bureau), Lysiane Alezard (Municipalities de Paix) and Dave Knight (CND).

Citizens' Inspection

A uniformed "Citizens' Inspection Team" approached the gates of the shipyard and sought to gain entry to inspect the delivery system for British nuclear weapons (ie Vengeance). They explained that they had written to Prime Minister Tony Blair in advance to call for an independent audit of UK nuclear weaponry and had stated their intention to start this audit in Barrow. Their carefully worded statement was listened to in silence by VSEL representatives, the police, the media and skeleton-masked supporters.

Having been denied access they tied a "Wanted" poster of Tony Blair to the gate and turned to explain to their supporters what had happened. As it happened, Dave Knight (Chair of CND) saw "Tony Blair" lurking in the background with a miniature "Vengeance" tucked under his arm and chatting amiably with a senior police officer. Dave immediately carried out a Citizen's Arrest and marched the "Prime Minister" to the front of the crowd to defend his support for the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons. He smiled benignly, begged people to understand his difficult position and pleaded for trust so that we could all arrive at a nuclear weapons-free world, eventually.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (0161 834 8301, gmdcnd@gn.apc.org)