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Peaceful protesters end up in court

DSEI protest

Protesters staged a die-in at last year's DSEI arms fair in London. Campaign Against Arms Trade under a Creative Commons Licence

Symon Hill, author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion and Digital Revolutions for New Internationalist, is on trial next week for a nonviolent protest outside an arms fair. He writes:

As some of you know, I will be on trial next week, along with four others, for nonviolently obstructing one of the entrances to the London arms fair in September last year. We linked arms in the entrance, sang hymns and prayed. Behind us, weapons of war and death were on sale.

We will be on trial on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 February for refusing to move when requested by the police. We have pleaded Not Guilty. We will point out that there was illegal activity going on inside the arms fair – two companies were found to be selling torture equipment, but were not arrested or charged

We stand in solidarity with others who will be facing trial later in February for other peaceful protests against the London arms fair.

Caroline Lucas (Green MP) and Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) have publicly supported us and many other people have spoken out against the arms fair. We have been deeply moved by the messages of support we have received.

I’m delighted to say that several people have organized a peaceful vigil outside court on Monday 3 February. We’re really grateful for this. It will begin at 9am, with a moment of silence at 10am to remember victims of the arms trade.

This is the plan:

What: A peaceful presence outside the court, to show solidarity and to remember those who are victims of war as a direct result of the government’s support of the arms trade. The organizers have banners and leaflets, but feel free to bring messages of peace in whatever form.

Where: Stratford Magistrates’ Court, The Court House, 389-397 High Street, London, E15 4SB (a short walk from Stratford station).

When: Starting at 9am on Monday 3 February, with a vigil-moment at 10am. We may be in court for some time and some have kindly offered to be there until the end of the day. And then again on 4 February from 9am if the trial continues.

If you can’t make it, please join us in prayer and/or reflection on the day. You can also follow developments on Twitter, by following @PutDowntheSword and using the hashtag #StopDSEi. Facebook includes an event page for several arms fair-related trials including this one, while others are leaving messages of support on the Christians Against the Arms Fair page.

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