TRIDENT PLOUGHSHARES TREATED POORLY AT HMNB DEVONPORT
Representatives of Plymouth Trident Ploughshares went at 2:30PM today to deliver a letter from Trident Ploughshares to the Commander HMNB Devonport, Commodore Simon Lister. We were to visit Camel’s Head gate to deliver the letter. NO OTHER ACTION was planned or even intended.
Having had a telephone conversation over a week ago with one of the MOD Press Officers, a conversation that is now being denied by the Base, I was informed that there would be no problem with our delivering the letter at any time as the Royal Navy is a public organisation.
With only two hours notice, after today’s press releases had been sent out, I was informed by telephone that the rules had been changed and there were the following conditions:
We would not be allowed to go up to the gate.
There would be no photo opportunity.
That security at the gate may not even accept the letter, much less deliver it to the Commodore.
The security guards were not prepared to be filmed or photographed, which we felt was entirely reasonable given their occupation.
That the gate could not be filmed or photographed.
These conditions were given us within 20 minutes of my leaving for a final conference with the other Trident Ploughshares members who attended with me. We apologise fully to those media representatives who were inconvenienced by the sudden, last munite and barely workable change of plan, but we were forced to improvise in order to make the event ourselves.
To be fair to HMNB Devonport, we were allowed to deliver the letter to a Press Officer outside the Pass Office near the Camel’s Head gate and we are assured it has been delivered to the Commodore. We are happy with that at least.
Given that HMNB Devonport has accepted letters from CND on previous demonstrations in the past, with Royal Navy officers to receive them, we are given to wondering why we are so different, especially as we had NO OTHER ACTIONS planned aside from delivering this letter.
We would also like to know why, if the conditions given us today were part of standing security arrangements, why we were not informed of them when we contacted the Press Officer at the base over a week ago.
Once again, we apologise fully to any media representatives who were inconvenienced by a decision not of our making.
A Trident Ploughshares member said: ‘Having attempted to go through the proper channels, we feel we have been treated shabbily and with disrespect. But this will not soften our resolve’
UNANNOUNCED ACTIONS CAN HAPPEN AT ANY TIME.
Notes to editors:
Trident Ploughshares is an internationally-known non-violent direct action organisation dedicated to non-violent, open, peaceful and accountable disarmament of the UK’s Trident missile system. For more information visit: www.tridentploughshares.org.
In 2002, members of Trident Ploughshares successfully penetrated the security at HMNB Devonport and were able to board and inspect the Trident missile submarine HMS Vanguard.