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The Telegraph/UK

Arrests On Last Day of Faslane Nuclear Protest

Felix Lowe and Agencies

Dozens of protesters have already been arrested at the Faslane Naval Base in Scotland on the last day of a year-long anti-nuclear blockade.Up to 1,000 demonstrators, including politicians, are expected at the Naval Base on the Clyde, home to the fleet of Trident nuclear submarines for the culmination of the campaign, dubbed Faslane 365.1001 02

Coach loads of protesters, who had vowed to mark the occasion through "colourful, creative and dramatic actions", arrived at the main gates of the base shortly before 7am this morning, where they were met by a large police presence.

Strathclyde Police said 45 people had been arrested outside the base by 8.30am.

One of the protest's organisers, Dr Rebecca Johnson, 52, said: "This is going to be totally non-violent, with a real carnival atmosphere."

Some protesters blocked the entrance to the main gate by lying on the ground with their arms linked by tubes. Others blocked a nearby A-road. Barbed wire fences and anti-nuclear posters have also been erected.

Despite the clear festive atmosphere on display - which included stilt walkers, musicians, clowns and costumed demonstrators entertaining the crowds - many more arrests are expected during the course of the day.

Amongst protesters expected at the "Big Blockade" on Monday is Glasgow SNP MSP Sandra White.

She said: "I congratulate all those who have taken part in the Faslane 365 campaign this past year and been arrested for blockading the base.

"This is the most important event in the Scottish calendar this year because we can no longer afford both morally and financially to have these weapons of mass destruction on our shores."

Scottish Green Party co-leader Robin Harper MSP, also planning to take part, said: "The use, the threat of use, and the planned replacement of Trident are all illegal.

"We should take a lead in fighting the wars of this century - the war against poverty, injustice and environmental destruction - not spend £25 billion on weapons of mass destruction aimed at civilians.

"This is a crucial economic, strategic and moral issue for Scotland and our voices must be heard.

"Trident is not wanted by UK citizens and I support this protest against Westminster's increasingly disastrous foreign and defence policy."

In total, the Faslane 365 action has led to more than 940 arrests since its inception, with a recent report claiming the costs of policing the base has exceeded £5 million.

© 2007 The Telegraph

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