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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Catholic peace campaigners arrested
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 Eight members of the London Catholic Worker group took part in a protest at the occupation of Iraq last weekend. Two were arrested. They were part of the 'No More Fallujah's Weekend of Action' , organised for the second anniversary of the attack on the city of Fallujah. The Catholic Worker group had helped to organise the protest, backed by over 50 peace groups around the country. 150 people took part in the weekend of action. Two members of the Catholic Worker group, Steve Barnes and Martin Newell stayed overnight in Parliament Square as part of an 'unauthorised' 24 hour 'Peace Camp', and were arrested and later released for refusing to give their names to police under the Serious Organised Crime and Policing Act (SOCPA) banning demonstrations within 1km of Parliament. The others, Maria and Scott Albrecht, Simone Kenny, Angela Broome, Zelda Jeffers and Nik Marten took part in a prayer and protest vigil at the NATO HQ in Northwood, Hertfordshire. Zelda Jeffers also joined part of the peace camp. The vigil at Northwood was attended by 40 people on Saturday 28th October, and 100 people took part in the Peace Camp from Sunday 29th - Monday 30th October. Martin Newell said: "This peace camp was conceived as a small act of solidarity with the thousands of refugees who fled Fallujah because of the massive bombardment it suffered two years ago, and who were forced to live in a deliberately created 'tent city'. We refused to co-operate with the SOCPA law, created as a direct result of this 'war on terror' and 'war of terror'. By doing this and risking arrest we hoped to dramatise and enact the basic conflict between a Gospel of love for enemies, of peace and justice, and a system based on vengeance, violence and oppression: between the call of Jesus to follow the 'way of the cross', and a system which always seems to victimise the innocent. " Campaigners Maya Evans and Milan Rai read out the names of those who have died in Fallujah. Ms Evans, who was the first person to be prosecuted under the SOCPA, said: "The occupation has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, helped to push Iraq into a civil war, and is acting as a recruiting sergeant for extremists across the Muslim world, endangering both Iraqis and ourselves. "Moreover 78% of Iraqis believe the occupation is causing more conflict than it prevents. It's time to end Britain's participation in this disastrous and immoral occupation."
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