Anti-nuclear activists declare Drake's Island nuclear free state

user warning: Unknown column 'f.nid' in 'where clause' query: SELECT n.nid, n.title, i.*, f.* FROM image i, node n INNER JOIN files f ON f.fid = i.fid WHERE f.nid = n.nid AND f.fid = 1534 in /home/earthfirst/sites/default/actionreports/sites/all/modules/img_assist/img_assist.module on line 1999.
Trident Drake's Island 1

14.05.2005

On Friday 13th May in a force 7 wind, a group of 12; including Trident Ploughshares pledgers with the invaluable assistance of Greenpeace sailors; landed on the jetty of Drake's Island and claimed squatters rights to this rocky territory which is directly opposite Plymouth Hoe.

Very quickly, despite the strong wind, walls were scaled and huge banners hung up from the top of the buildings which read Scrap Trident and Ban the Bomb. The Sound between the Island and the Hoe is the route for all the Naval Ships and Brittany Ferries let alone the little boats including the tourist trip to the Devonport docks. Therefore our banners were able to be read very easily. They have remained in place despite the serious wind and rain. Soon TV crews arrived trough the choppy seas, and we made it to the headlines in the evening news. Next day we found ourselves being front page stuff in the Western Morning News and the Plymouth Evening Herald.

Meanwhile we tackled the abandoned building near the sea with half the windows missing. Bedding and food were brought in and we set about making this good space livable.

Bits of furniture were recovered from the abandoned military buildings and a CND flag was run up the mast on the top of the island to the amasement of the masses of sea gulls whose eggs were just hatching. The weather was dreadful and we spent some time bailing out water the next morning before the place was made water tight.

Despite no let up in the very inclement weather the press kept in close contact and we appointed a mayor to join the Mayors for Peace movement. On Monday we sent two people with a letter from our Mayor to encourage Plymouth's new mayor to join the Mayors for Peace. this too was filmed and shown on local TV.

The present owner, one time Chair of Plymouth Argyle, Dan Macaulay, was reported to have said "they should be blown up" but the city is so fed up with him leaving this historic site to go to ruin that he did not get much local support. We settled down to plan our next moves; wondering how long it would be before Mr Macaulay obtained a possession order. More supplies including drinking water were brought over with newly acquired TP boat without which we could not have managed.

One of the spin offs from this action has been the making of much closer links with members of Greenpeace and I hope this will bring other cooperative actions in the future, their water skills make excellent sailing actions possible.

Our protest has raised the whole issue of Britain's nuclear weapons of mass destruction and the refitting of the Trident submarine in Devonport dockyard. In addition we have used this protest to highlight the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty which is taking place simultaneously in New York.

We are hoping to send a message from our new nuclear free state to the British Ambassador in New York imploring him not to reduce the terms of Article 6 which was agreed by all 188 states parties in 2000 and which neither the US nor the UK has complied with properly. They should at least have set a proper timeline for their disarmament plan. The lack of this is why Trident Ploughshares continues to do NVDA to disarm all parts of Britain's nuclear system.

The Plymouth Trident Ploughshares (Tamarians) continue this protest on shore through a disarmament camp starting Thursday 19 May. The main action of the camp will be a blockade of the Dockyard on Friday 20 May, starting at 6:30 a.m. in the form of a ’Regeneration Carnival’. Anyone wanting to come should ring Claire on 0845 4588 368 for more information and for directions to the camp site.

For pictures, please visit www.tridentploughshares.org