Christians arrested in blockade protest at arms fair

By staff writers
September 10, 2013

Five Christians have been arrested for successfully blockading the Custom House entrance in London at an arms fair supplying weapons to repressive regimes.

For over forty minutes the group, associated with the activist organisation Christianity Uncut and supported by a range of other NGOs including Christian CND, sat down and linked arms at the entrance of the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition (DSEi).

The exhibition is backed by the UK government and the London Mayor and has on its guest list a range of dictators and autocrats, including the Russian armers of President Assad in Syria.

The protesters recited the Lord's Prayer, and one of the people arrested, Symon Hill, also announced the 23rd Psalm ('The Lord is My Shepherd") boldly while being dragged away by police.

The demonstrators say that the police cited the "security of the blockade" as a reason for wanting to move it, and threatened physical force. At least one hid an identification tag.

Superglue was used to link themselves at the gate by the anti-arms activists. It took some time for the authorities to dissolve it.

The first two people arrested included a trainee Methodist minister and the third was Quaker activist Chris Wood. Two others were removed. All were driven away to be charged.

This afternoon it was reported that the five have all been released and are due to appear in court together later this month.

One of them, Chris Wood, was denied food and drink while being held in custody, Ekklesia has been told.

Other anti-arms trade activists were arrested over the weekend, when protests against DSEi included a liturgy and exorcism conducted by three Anglican priests.

People of all faiths and none are taking part in a week long series of protests and nonviolent actions against the DSEi arms fair, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

Six Christian organisations, including the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, have said they believe that peaceful obstruction is morally justified in the face of an exhibition peddling death and destruction in a divided and dangerous world.

* Christianity Uncut news: https://twitter.com/Christiansvcuts

* Twitter support tag: #stopDSEi

* Stop the Arms Fair: http://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

* Campaign Against Arms Trade: http://www.caat.org.uk

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