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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Now's the time to put the arms trade on trial!

Yesterdays decision in a Stratford Court to acquit 5 Christian peace activists, is a huge blow for the way the police deal with the biannual DSEi arms fair.

Throughout the two day trial, activists constantly reminded the courts that whilst they were being prosecuted for trying to prevent a crime during the London arms fair, none of the companies who had been expelled the same day for trying to sell illegal torture equipment, faced any threat of prosecution.

These five brave activists had blocked the entrance to the Excel centre where the fair was being held in September last year. Myself and several others had acted as decoys, and had been escorted away by the police while the smartly dressed activists were able to get close enough to the security gates and joined themselves together in prayer.

They conducted themselves with great dignity, and the judge remarked during the hearing that their behaviour had been exemplary.

The police had however not behaved as well as could be hoped, barking out contradictory orders to the protesters, and failing to be aware of the criminal activities that were taking place in the conference centre behind them.

But these 5 lovely folk should never had had to go through this ordeal in the first place. It is a system that allows and encourages the sale of arms to dodgy dictatorships that ought to be prosecuted. The police ought to send as many officers as it uses to arrest peaceful protesters into the exhibition halls to monitor which companies are selling illegal weapons, and to arrest those responsible. For the last 10 years at this exhibition, companies have be found to have been conducting illegal activity, yet no one has been dealt with in the courts.

Its time for the government to stop harassing peaceful protesters and wasting tax payers money on ridiculous cases, and start spending its time and money putting the real criminals on trial.

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