On Monday April 28, activists from Trident Ploughshares blockaded the Rolls Royce factory at Raynesway, Derby. Using two concrete lock-ons, chains and bike locks they were able to disrupt the facility for five hours. A specialist police cutting team had to be brought in from Staffordshire to chisel out those using the lock-on. The factory was targetted because it is used to make and test the reactor which power Britain's nuclear submarines. As such it is a vital part of the programme to replace the Trident missile system.
Trident Ploughshares spokesman Malcolm Carroll said: "We view our peaceful protest as a major success. We have highlighted our views that Rolls-Royce is acting immorally by building reactor cores for Trident submarines' nuclear weapons system. This is the first time that we have brought this type of protest to Derby and it may not be the last. Hundreds of people used this form of mass blockade at the Trident nuclear base at Faslane, in Scotland, over a year-long period called Faslane 365. Who is to say that we can't have a Derby 365?"
Previous features: Strident students blockade at Faslane | Protesters take action at Derby nuclear plant | Nottingham folk succesfully blockade nuclear submarine base in Scotland | Nuclear? No thanks! | Derbyshire police go over the top again
The blockade began at 7am and the cutting team were not able to remove the final protester until 12.30pm. Ten people were arrested and taken to the city's St Mary's Wharf Police station for questioning. The protesters were arrested under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA). This legislation was originally used to restrict protest around Parliament, but many of its powers have subsequently been applied across the country. All have been bailed to return to Derby Police HQ on May 6 and 8.
A spokesman for Rolls Royce tried to underplay the factory's role in the nuclear state: "We do not make nuclear weapons on that site. What we make there is the reactor core, which is the propulsion system that powers the submarine. We have been supplying these parts to the Royal Navy for more than 50 years."