Over 18 months ago Rosie and Rachel of Trident Ploughshares got their wetsuits on for a cold night swim across the docks at Barrow to the fourth Trident nuclear submarine. Despite the Royal Navy guard, they boarded the submarine without being noticed, painted peace slogans on the conning tower, and hammered on radar testing equipment. Prosecution estimates for repair range from £25,000 to nearly £1,000,000.
On 11th September 2000 at Manchester Crown Court they will face the different challenge of presenting the moral and legal justification for their actions. Their lawyers will place a whole body of international law, brought together in the International Court of Justice Opinion of 1996, before the court. The defence will be similar to the groundbreaking case in Scotland last October in which three Trident Ploughshares activists were acquitted of causing £1,000,000 to the Trident nuclear weapons system (see report in NN#26).
As the first such case to reach a Crown Court in England, this is an important trial, expected to last up to two weeks. All are invited to support throughout the trial, beginning with a march from Manchester Town Hall at 9.00am on Monday 11 September, with vigils, music, banners, outside court from 10.00am every day.
For accommodation, leaflets, speakers call Helen 01639 700 680 or 07808 553 778 or email email@example.com
Others arrested included activists from Finland, Germany and The Netherlands; Ulla Roder and Angie Zelter of the ploughshares "Trident Three" who were acquited in a Scottish court recently when they successfully argued Trident was illegal; and Japanese monks and nuns from Milton Keynes.
A Trident Ploughshares spokesperson said, "Again we have been encouraged to see so many people willing to confront this crime against humanity in such a peaceful but determined way. We feel that there is a significant shift away from complacency about Trident. There is more unease about it in official circles and more ordinary people are realising that they can do something about it."
Trident Ploughshares 2000 (01603 611953, firstname.lastname@example.org)