Peace campaigners arrested for protest at arms fair

Two Catholic peace campaigners were arrested this morning as they demonstrated in front of the Defence Services Export International (DSEi)  Arms Fair in east London. The event is one of the largest arms fairs in the world.

 Katrina Alton and  Fr Martin Newell, who are members of the London Catholic Worker group,  daubed red paint on  a sign advertising the Fair. They then raised a banner which read “Forgive them Father they know not what they do” and knelt in prayer for 45 minutes before they were arrested for criminal damage and taken to a local police station.

Katrina said that the Fair was: "trading in arms and weapons that cause death and suffering to millions of the poorest and most vulnerable in our world. As a Christian I believe these children, women, and men are my brothers and sisters. Their voices are silent and their stories are not writ large on advertising stands or at multi billion pound 'fairs; -  they remain hidden, 'out of sight out of mind;. My love and compassion for these victims, faith, means that in faith and solidarity I cannot remain silent or hidden. So our action today is a visible sign that in the heart of our community this week the powerful and the greedy are trading in the blood of the poor: and that blood is on my hands too."

She said she wanted to challenge those in power "to think what a difference could be made right now if all this money and resources was used to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and care for the sick just as Jesus asks us to do."

Fr Martin said: “We hope and pray that our action here today... will open the eyes of those who see but do not perceive, so that hearts of stone will be changed into hearts of flesh.”

Katrina and Martin live and work with refugees in Hackney.  For more information see:

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