On 13 May 12 anti-nuclear weapons protestors from the Plymouth Trident Ploughshares (Tamarians) along with supporters, squatted Drake’s Island in Plymouth Sound. A peace camp has been set up and the island declared a nuclear free state. The protest highlights the UK’s breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is now being reviewed at an important at the UN in New York. The refit of the UK’s nuclear armed and nuclear powered Trident submarines in Devonport Dockyard plays a large part in Britan’s violation of this international treaty.
The Drake’s Island settlers, including local trades people, parents, council employees, and seafarers, are raising the alarm about the threat that the Trident nuclear missile system poses to global peace and security. ”This Nuclear Free State demands the British government scrap Trident and comply with the NPT, which the UK has signed. The Trident missile system contributes to global insecurity and local pollution” said a Tamarian spokesperson.
The settlers are also concerned with the tritium being discharged from the nuclear fuelled Vanguard-class submarines at the Devonport Dockyard into the River Tamar. ”Tritium is a known carcinogenic and this practice of discharging these amounts of it into the river is illegal under European law, for all but the military. For us, who live here, this concession to the military poses a risk to our health” said an anti-nuclear campaigner on Drake’s Island.
Visitors to the island will undergo a ”security check” for radiation contamination before they can enter the nuclear free state. If cleared they will be issued a ”visa” which will allow them to stay . Banners saying ”Ban the Bomb” and ”Scrap Trident” have been carefully displayed as the settlers are ensuring no damage will be caused to the island. A candle-light vigil will be held tomorrow Saturday at 9 p.m. on Drake’s Island and people can gather in West Hoe, Plymouth, to show their support.