London: church groups to join vigil outside arms fair

 Christian campaigners have condemned an international arms fair due to take place in London next week. Over 1,200 companies are expected to promote weaponry from handguns to fighter jets at Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi), which will be held at the Excel Centre from Tuesday 11 - Friday 14 September. Members of the Christian Network of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will join a multifaith vigil at 6.30pm on Monday, 10 September, and a peaceful demonstration at 11am on Tuesday, 11 September, with a march from Plaistow Park to the Excel Centre. They will be supported by other Christian organisations, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Pax Christi. They are working alongside campaigners from other faiths and none. Alun Morinan, Co-ordinator of the CAAT Christian Network, said: "With so much news of gun crime in recent months, this is an especially sickening time for London to host an arms fair. The arms trade fuels war, perpetuates poverty and threatens our security. I hope that as many Christians as possible will join us to pray and protest as the merchants of death set out their wares at DSEi." DSEi's future looks increasingly uncertain, as both of its organisers have responded to public pressure. DSEi's owner Reed Elsevier is selling its arms fair business and the Prime Minister is to close the Government unit that helps to organise DSEi. CAAT has insisted that this must be DSEi's last year. For more information see: http://www.caat.org.uk/