Catholic peace activists fined after protest at military base

Six peace  campaigners were fined at Watford Magistrates Court, on 5 November,  for causing 'serious disruption to the life of the local community',  during a  protest to commemorate the second anniversary of the killing of 47 Afghan civilians at a wedding party by NATO.

Katrina Alton of the London Catholic Worker, with five  co-defendants, all pleaded 'not guilty', After the verdict  they told the court they would not pay the imposed £50 fine, or the £280 court costs for reasons of conscience.

In evidence Katrina said: "None of the protesters indented to cause any disruption to the local community, and I don't believe we did. Our intention was always to take our protest and 'die-in' to the gates of the NATO military head quarters at Northwood. As a Christian I believe our symbolic act invited those who work at the base to look into the mirror of reality, the mirror that the women, men and children of Afghanistan look into every day. A mirror that reflects the true cost of this war: death, suffering, poverty and fear."

In her concluding statement Katrina added: "As a Catholic I believe I should confess the sins I commit, but also the sins I allow to be committed by my inaction. What I and my co defendants did on the 27th May seems a very small and pitiful act in the face of the horrors of this war. I have to ask myself, today what have I failed to do? And tomorrow what will I do?"

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