Almost 400 people, including an estimated 20 church ministers and several politicians, were arrested during a protest in Scotland outside the Faslane naval base on the River Clyde, where Britain's fleet of Trident nuclear-armed submarines are based.

Among those arrested was Norman Shanks, leader of the renowned Iona Community, the multi-denominational worship community on the island of Iona where Celtic Christianity first came to Scotland.

Shanks, a Church of Scotland minister and a member of the central committee of the World Council of Churches, told ENI: "Most Scottish people find something offensive about Britain's nuclear fleet being based within 20 to 30 miles of half of the Scottish population." (Faslane is close to Glasgow and surrounding towns.)

Another of those arrested, Labour parliamentarian George Galloway, said: "We are worried about how to pay for care for the elderly and reducing class sizes in schools. However, we are spending millions on weapons of mass destruction that will never be used."

Britain has four Trident submarines. Although a regular event, the protest drew the biggest crowd for many years, with at least 850 attending, according to the organizers, the anti-nuclear campaigning group Trident Ploughshares.

The protest started early on February 12, with the two gates to the base blocked for several hours.

Police arrested 379 people for public order offences. Those arrested included slightly more women than men.

A Trident Ploughshares spokesman said a further six people were arrested during the following night when trying to break into the base through the perimeter fence.

Leaders of most of Scotland's mainstream churches attended this year's protest, although some had come to give moral support rather than ...

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