Catholic peace activist imprisoned for arms protest

Christian peace activist Chris Cole, 47, from Oxford was today imprisoned for 30 days at Westminster Central Magistrates Court for non-payment of a fine following a protest at the opening event of the DSEI arms fair in September 2009.   Cole had sprayed ‘Build Peace Not War Machines’ and 'Stop this Bloody Business' across the entrance to the QEII conference centre in central London.

According to a publicity brochure for the event, the UK Defence Conference would  be attended by senior officials from the arms industry, the military and the UK government in order “to explore the business opportunities” to be found  in responses “to global security threats such as climate change, major population movements, growing water scarcity, competition for energy sources and the continued rise of Islamism.”

Defending himself in court Cole said: “The arms industry is pushing military solutions to human security threats that in reality need political and humanitarian responses not more weaponry. If we want to be a nation that is committed to building peace and defending the poor, we need to address underlying causes of injustice and not promote the ideology of ‘might is right’.   

At the original trial in October 2009 Cole was found guilty and ordered to pay £1,545.00 in compensation and £350 in court costs.

This is the fifth time that Cole has been sentenced to imprisonment for nonviolent civil disobedience.

For more information about Chris see:

Source: Pax Christi

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