12th June 1982

Faslane Peace Camp is established

Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines are based at Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Clyde, variously known as HMS Neptune, or Faslane. This gives them direct access to the sea by way of Gare Loch.

Faslane has been a Royal Navy base since submarine trials were conducted there during the First World War on account of the loch’s depth, and it was significantly altered in the mid-1960s to accommodate the Polaris nuclear weapons system.

Peace Camp set up

The Faslane Peace Camp, which was established in June 1982, has a permanent presence outside the base gates and frequently demonstrates against nuclear weapons and their presence on Scottish territory. It is well organised, and has planning permission ensuring its continued existence, although it was initially just a single tent.

Looking back around various protests in Scottish history, The Scotsman on 15 December 2015 explained that the camp, established by Bobby and Margaret Harrison, was initially a protest against the Thatcher government purchasing the American Trident nuclear missile system, and that “Scotland has had a longstanding anti-nuclear weapon movement with protests taking place across the country including a mass blockade at Faslane where 47 protesters were arrested.”

Political support

The camp quickly gained traction, and the anti-nuclear movement had political backing from members of the SNP. On 10 December 1982, the Aberdeen Press and Journal reported plans by SNP anti-nuclear protesters to hold a peace picket in Dunfermline, where Pitreavie Castle was used as a communications centre for nuclear-armed submarines patrolling the north Atlantic. “The ‘peace picket’, which SNP executive member Mr Jim Taggart said would itself be peaceful, is part of what the SNP say is a stepping-up of their campaign against the siting of the proposed Trident deterrent force at Faslane on Gareloch.”

Large demonstration

Direct action at the peace camp itself frequently involves disruption of staff or materials getting into or out of the naval base. A four-hour demonstration in 2001 attracted between 500 and 1000 attendees and resulted in 170 arrests. However, the impact was seemingly limited as, according to the BBC, “many workers arrived early and were able to enter the base as normal”.

The camp has attracted international interest. In 2006, more than 40 protesters from Sweden and Finland were arrested for blocking the entrance to the base, but were released after being held at a police station overnight.



Other events that occured in June

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