By: Anne van Staveren
Source: Quakers in Britain
Four peace activists have been found not guilty of charges arising from blockading the world's largest arms fair held last year by Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) in East London.
As truckloads of equipment arrived, Quakers, Pax Christi, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Wake Up, and Anglican Pacifist Fellowship were among those peacefully protesting with other faith groups to say 'no' to the arms trade and 'no' to profiteering from war.
London Quaker Jo Frew, Nora Zeigler, Henrietta Cullinan and Chris Cole were found not guilty of obstruction of the highway.
The hearing at Stratford Magistrates Court this week was told that while the four did lie in the road, locked on to wooden frames, their human rights under articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, must be upheld.
Faith groups and others staged seven days of nonviolent prayerful action, disrupting preparations for the arms fair at the ExCel centre in London Docklands.
Groups of Quakers travelled from across Britain to support the action. There were meetings for worship and silent, candle-lit vigils, in solidarity with victims of the arms trade.
At an earlier hearing, Quakers charged with obstruction of the highway were given six months' conditional discharge and fined £85 court costs plus £20 Victim Support surcharge. They were arrested while standing in silent worship.