Top picture: Protests have taken place previously at HM Naval Base Clyde.
By Harry Bell
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has raised concerns in regard to protests that are reportedly going ahead this weekend outside HMNB Clyde at Faslane.
Jackie Baillie, left, has written to both Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to ask that steps are taken to ensure that there is no negative impact on public health and safety as a result of these protests.
This comes as West Dunbartonshire currently has the highest COVID-19 case rate in Scotland and the number of covid cases in Argyll & Bute is also increasing. In addition, the COVID-19 testing hub in Helensburgh has reportedly run out of PCR tests this week due to an overwhelming demand due to an increase in close contacts and individuals developing symptoms.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “I respect the right to protest but my number one priority is to ensure that public health and safety is protected, especially as local case numbers are skyrocketing and stocks of PCR test stocks have run out.
“Large gatherings of people from across Scotland allows the virus to spread easily and quickly. That’s why I have written to Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to ask that all measures are taken to minimise any risk of COVID-19 spreading.
“I encourage anyone who is planning to attend these protests to think twice about whether it is safe to do so and ensure that covid guidance is followed at all times.”
The peace camp at Faslane which won’t be welcoming visitors today.
Meanwhile, Faslane Peace Camp have issued this statement on social media: “Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to host visitors from the rally tomorrow safely. We don’t know how many people will be attending, but from any online estimates, it will be far too many people for anyone (us or AOUB) to broadly recommend a visit to the peace camp as part of tomorrow’s experience.
“It’s been a small miracle that camp has managed to go this long into the pandemic without a Covid outbreak, and we can’t ignore the dangers of the rising number of cases, or the fact that this event will attract people from many different parts of the country.
“We’re trying to cautiously reopen for safe visits, work-days, vigils and tours, and that means trying to keep the number of people passing though relatively low.
“Our actions during the pandemic have consistently been to err on the side of caution. We believe that’s the right thing to do during a global pandemic, but we’re also being realistic about our own lack of defences against a highly contagious virus.
“We have already committed to visits tomorrow from those helping out the camp with various projects, and we feel it would be equally unfair to put them at risk when they’ve given up their Saturday to lend us a hand.
“We’re really sorry if this disappoints anyone who was looking forward to dropping on Saturday. You’re still very welcome to wave hello from the bus stop, or drop off flyers or donations at the gate!
“We’ll be reopening for walk-in visits and tours on Sunday, or if you fancy staying overnight (or doing something where we’ll be breaking social distancing) chuck us a wee message on here or give us a ring, and we’ll get organised!
“Solidarity with those who march for an independent, nuclear-free Scotland in which NO-ONE gets left behind!”
They said earlier: ” Disturbing to see the line-up of speakers planned for the AUOB demonstration at Faslane on Saturday (which in case there was any doubt, we have had NOTHING to do with).
“If your One Banner involves platforming or supporting rape apologists and transphobes, that’s not a banner we’ll be getting under, and it’s not a vision for Scotland’s future we’ll be giving any credit to.
“Seems like a good time for another public reminder that if you’re an SWP rape apologist / supporter, or an Alba Party rape apologist / supporter, or a private or public transphobe, you can find somewhere else to piss on Saturday because you and your views are not welcome on site. Solidarity means solidarity. Not just when it’s convenient.”
The statement added: “We can all do SO much better. Edit for clarity. By “on site” we are referring to the peace camp. The demo will take place at the North Gate of Faslane. We have had no involvement in planning this demo and have no control over who attends, nor are we trying to. AUOB have encouraged people to visit the peace camp, during a pandemic, without consulting us about our current covid safety precautions or safe spaces guidelines.
“Camp always tries to accommodate support for anti nuclear activity but there are glaring issues with the organisations of this demo that need to be called out.”
Nuclear submarine HMS Audacious at Faslane on the Gareloch.