Christians plan day of prayer and protest over arms trade

By staff writers
August 14, 2011

Christian communities throughout the UK are expected to take part in a Day of Prayer four weeks today, in the week that one of the world's largest arms fairs opens in London.

The Day of Prayer, on Sunday 11 September, will take place on the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers and and will enable Christians to reflect on the legacy of that day: war, inter-community tension, and an increasingly militarised approach to human security.

The day will marks the start of a week of activities organised by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to coincide with the London arms fair - known formally as Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) - which takes place in east London from 13-16 September. DSEi is owned by Clarion Events, who also own the Baby Show.

CAAT is a the leading organisation within the Stop the Arms Fair Coalition, which will call for an end to arms sales to repressive regimes and an end to government support for the arms industry and DSEi.

DSEi is organised with the support of UKTI, a government unit within the Department for Business. Although arms make up less than two per cent of UK exports, UKTI devotes more staff to its arms promotion section than to all civilian industries combined.

The last DSEi, in 2009, hosted delegations from Algeria, Bahrain, Libya and Saudi Arabia, countries which have this year turned their weapons on civilian protesters.

The Day of Prayer is organised by CAAT's Christian Network, a non-denominational group of Christians opposed to the arms trade. The Christian Network has produced a Day of Prayer Pack with suggestions for worship, including prayers, Bible readings, hymns and service sheets, plus background briefings on arms fairs and the UK's role in the arms trade.

“Christian peace activists play a vital role in CAAT's work," said Anne-Marie O'Reilly, CAAT's Outreach Co-ordinator, "We are delighted that so many communities will be participating in the Day of Prayer for an end to the death and destruction of the arms trade".

She urged all Christians to "add your voice to the growing chorus of protest against the London arms fair".


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