THOUSANDS of anti-nuclear protesters thronged the centre of Glasgow yesterday to demand the country's next set of MPs scrap the Trident nuclear deterrent.


Nicola Sturgeon was among the speakers at the Bairns not Bombs rally organised by CND Scotland calling for a vote against Trident renewal after the general election.

A procession bristling with banners and placards made its way through the city centre to George Square - the prelude to a blockade of Faslane naval base on the Clyde on April 13.

Police estimated around 2,500 people attended, but organisers said it was closer to 4,000.

The First Minister said: "One of the biggest decisions that MPs will take in the next Parliament is whether to waste £100bn on renewing these morally obscene weapons.

"Broken down, that'll be around £3bn a year, peaking at an eye-watering £4bn in the 2020s.

"We all know that Trident is morally unjustifiable, but at a time when the Westminster parties are all committed to forcing yet more austerity on us after the election Trident is economically indefensible.

"Just think of what could be achieved with this money for the NHS, education or other public services - not just in Scotland, but across the UK."

She gave a "cast-iron assurance" that SNP MPs would never support Trident.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said there was "a wave of anger" across the UK at spending billions on weapons of mass destruction while slashing welfare.

He told the crowd: "Your job over the coming weeks is to make sure people hear the alternative voice. You need to take the message out day after day, to friends, family, your colleagues, your neighbours, make sure they bring the issue of Trident to the top of the political agenda when they decide how they cast their vote. Let's convince everybody in this country to vote no to Trident."

MPs voted in 2007 to "maintain the strategic nuclear deterrent beyond the life of the existing system".

The "main gate" decision due in 2016 is whether to have three or four submarines, not whether to renew Trident, although it presents an opportunity to rethink the whole programme.

The current nuclear warheads are considerable viable until the 2030s and a decision on whether to replace them is not due until 2019.

The three other main parties at Westminster support Trident and could easily outvote the SNP.