On Sunday night, the distribution centre of the Rolls Royce factory in Derby was targeted by "autonomous individuals against the war machine." The gates of the plant, which makes components for Trident anti-nuclear submarines, were D-locked and the walls were covered in graffiti stating "Rolls Royce profits from the war machine" and "Fuck Rolls Royce".
According to the group's communique, "The war machine puts profit and power over the lives of people, companies like Rolls Royce are part of this. The war machine exemplifies the ways in which the rich and powerful oppress and dispossess the majority of people, destroying homes and communities, enforcing migration, and irrevocably harming land bases."
This is by no means the first time that Rolls Royce's Derby plant has been the target of anti-militarist action. Last summer, some land near the factory was squatted for a peace camp and blockaders disrupted the facility for 5 hours in 2008. There have been several other blockades over the years.
Newswire: Rolls Royce targeted
Previous features: Peace camp established at Raynesway, Derby | Raynesway Blockaders in Court | Trident Activists Blockade Rolls Royce in Derby | Protesters take action at Derby nuclear plant | Derbyshire police go over the top again
The Rolls Royce Raynesway site on the outskirts of Derby has a Neptune nuclear test reactor which is used to test the fuel reactivity for the engines of submarines in the military's hunter fleet, which are equipped with Trident missiles. The nuclear cores for these submarines are also made at the site. Rolls Royce uses enriched uranium and zircaloy to manufacture components. The company also has contracts to build nuclear reactors for civilian power plants.
In May 2009 a peace camp was set up near the Raynesway site which demanded that Rolls Royce phase out all nuclear activities at the Rayensway plant within the next 5 years and move into work which is sustainable. They also asked that Rolls Royce provide and make publicly available a comprehensive evacuation plan for people living and working within a two mile radius of the factory. Poor security at the site is something that many local residents are worried about.
In April 2008 10 activists from Trident Ploughshares were arrested after a blockade of the plant that took police 5 hours to remove with chisels. Of the 10, 8 were later acquitted after it was found that they had not been on Rolls Royce's land.
In 2007 a blockade of the facility took place on the 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The protest was also in solidarity with the Faslane 365 year of actions against the Royal Navy's nuclear submarine base in Scotland. One protester commented that "With the government intending to replace it's illegal Trident system, and to build more nuclear power stations in the UK, it's vital that ordinary people take a stand to prevent future nuclear disasters."
Derbyshire police have attempted to crack down on protests at the site, imposing a Section 14 order after a protest was announced in 2005, in spite of the organisers liaising with them. Since then, protesters have not repeated this mistake!