Five Christian activists were cleared today of obstructing access to an arms fair. The activists were strongly supported by individual Quakers in the two day case, also by the general secretary of the URC and Rowan Williams.
The activists argued that crimes were being committed inside the fair, that illegal weapons were being sold, and this had been the case for several fairs in a row. They offered to withdraw if the police investigated that crime. The offending companies left, when their activities were raised in Parliament, but no legal action was taken. Instead the activists were arrested and charged.
Magistrates acquitted I understand because the vigil organisers had tried to follow advice given and were still arrested. Comedy moments include police claiming someone reciting the 23rd Psalm was ‘aggressive’. (I know the individual concerned and he is about a foot shorter than me…)
Throughout my lifetime people have constantly pointed out that Britain has a hi tech manufacturing industry where it does rather well, making and selling weapons, often to some pretty disgusting regimes. It is a long standing problem, there were Welsh cannon on the Spanish Armada. Surely we can divert these skills and expertise to better use.
Will the authorities get off their backside and ensure if the next arms fair takes place that lawbreakers will be charged?