Yesterday the Peaton Peace Pirates, a Trident Ploughshares affinity group attempted to call on the US, French and Chinese Consulates in Edinburgh and the Scotland Office as the representative office of the British State, in order ask them to engage urgently in diplomatic moves to defuse the current critically dangerous situation.
The visits were a follow-up to letters sent last week to representatives in Edinburgh of the ‘P5’ nuclear armed states, requesting a meeting at a specified time. The only reply received was from the Russian Consul-General, offering a meeting at a later date, so his office was not visited on this occasion.
Supported by members of Scottish CND, Edinburgh CND and Edinburgh Yes, and wearing fleeces marked ‘TPNW monitoring and compliance squad’, we went equipped with notices of non-compliance to issue to the Consulates (“This state is in non-compliance with UN nuclear weapon treaties” and “Warning: toxic diplomacy”).
At each location the Police prevented us from speaking to anyone inside, by insisting that all the buildings remain closed during our visit, so we had no alternative but to paste our non-compliance notices to the doors, walls and pavements of the buildings, along with other messages done in chalk, whilst reading out sections of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017) through a megaphone. The notices were quickly removed by the Police, with repeated threats that we would be arrested if we pasted up any more, so we did but we weren’t…. We ended each visit with a rousing rendition of the song “Freedom Come All Ye”.
At the French Consulate we were intrigued to be told that we weren’t allowed to mark the building as that would be in contravention of Article 22 of the Geneva Convention! We replied that we were very keen on the Geneva Convention but wondered why the Police were upholding this Article and neglecting others? – later research showed that the Police person had actually meant the Vienna Convention.
Although we were unable to speak directly to any officials on this occasion, they will be hearing from us again!