Rolls Royce, in addition to making parts for Hawk fighter jets, gas guzzling cars for the rich and generally being corporate scum, also make the nuclear reactors and fuel which power Trident submarines. So, on the first of October, as part of an international day of anti-nuclear action, 70 activists took part in an action at the Rolls Royce base in Derby. The action had the twin aims of publicising the base's activities and of disrupting them.
On the first count the action was hugely successful: a large banner told motorists that "Rolls Royce Drives Nuclear Weapons", while saturation coverage was gained in the local media. Disrupting the base's workings was sadly far more difficult to achieve due to a heavy police presence (including members of the Forward Intelligence Team). However, some affinity groups blockaded the gate, one group locked on to the front gates, and two groups managed to get inside the compound itself.
Twelve people were arrested and held for 16 hours and charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage. Two were also charged with perverting the cause of justice for giving false names. Following the action, the homes of ten of those arrested were raided by police who confiscated bank details, diaries and even one woman's university coursework as evidence.
The huge state clampdown is worthy of consideration. The state's reaction suggests that it was particularly worried either by the choice of target or by the form of action, symbolising as these did, the sharing of tactics and targets by the ecological and peace movements. It is hard to know how to overcome such a police response, only that the need for rapid and co-ordinated movement on the day, and tight security in the run up to it, is more important than ever.
Those arrested are in court for a pre-trial review on Friday 4 December. Contact CND for help with support, more information on court appearances or general anti-nuclear information.
Greater Manchester and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (0161 834 8301, email@example.com)