Christian students join arms fair protests

By agency reporter
September 16, 2011

Christian students have joined protests at the London arms fair this week, ranging from lobbying MPs to a nonviolent blockade of the arms fair entrance.

The Student Christian Movement (SCM) condemned the fair, known as Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi). The fair allowed regimes which have forcibly suppressed their own populations in the Arab Spring, such as Bahrain, to freely make arms deals.

SCM, which belongs to the Stop the Arms Fair coalition, welcomed the strong Christian presence at the protests. Five of the twenty organisations affiliated to the coalition are specifically Christian.

Christian hymns were sung as SCM joined with the Speak network and the Fellowship of Reconciliation in a protest outside the offices of drone manufacturers General Atomics.

SCM also joined a spontaneous Christian prayer service outside Parliament, where the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) had co-ordinated a mass lobby calling on MPs to close down the arms fair.

Several members of SCM joined with other Christians in blockading one of the main entrances to the arms fair, which delayed arms dealers’ cars for around 25 minutes before they were removed by police. Prayers and hymns were again heard.

SCM member Hattie Hodgson, a student at Leeds University, who joined the blockade, explained: “Jesus is known as the prince of peace. As a young Christian attempting to live out my faith, I felt it was imperative that I actively protested against the DSEi arms fair."

Ms Hodgson added: “I could not stand by and let taxpayers’ money be spent on an event at which some of the most oppressive regimes in the world are able to buy weapons. It is a fair that trades in death. I felt that I had to disrupt these activities as much as possible.”

The Student Christian Movement is an ecumenical-led movement concerned with faith and justice. It brings students together in colleges and universities to explore how to live out the Christian faith in today’s world.

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