Green Party leader offers support to arms trade protesters facing trial
10 April 2016
A group of protesters, including a Green Party Cambridge City Council candidate, accused of blocking access to a global arms fair in London last year will have the backing of the Green Party’s leader when they stand trial from Monday (11 April).
Natalie Bennett says if the group who disrupted the Defence & Security Equipment International arms fair were able to prevent arms sales to a dodgy regime then it will have been worthwhile.
The defendants are accused of having disrupted the setup of the arms fair by blocking the access roads to the site with their bodies and by locking themselves to the gates.
Multiple defendants are accused of having blockaded a road during the Stop The Arms Fair main day of action on 12 September 2015. This includes Angela Ditchfield, a Green Party candidate to become a Cambridge councillor .
Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:
"The protesters have my full support. Their peaceful act of civil disobedience will increase people's awareness of this dreadful market place in our country, which damages our own security as well as that of other nations.
"They were aiming to prevent or delay delivery of arms that could be used in deadly, criminal and human rights abusing acts around the world."
Defendant Tom Franklin, 57, of Clifton Without, York said:
"It is intolerable that the government is supporting the sale of illegal weapons and weapons being used to kill ordinary people from the West Bank to Yemen and Sudan. 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.' So I had to try to prevent evil.”
In a joint public statement the defendants’ campaign said:
“We know that the tools of the type promoted for sale at DSEI will be used to reinforce apartheid, to surveil and brutalise communities from Brixton to Bahrain, and to perpetuate the border regime that kills thousands every year – as European states wage a war against the refugees they helped create.
“We know that weapons promoted at DSEI are used to incinerate whole families at the touch of a button in places from Palestine to Pakistan. We know that such weapons will continue to devastate landscapes and do permanent environmental damage across the globe. And that these weapons have been used in systematic forced evictions and ethnic cleansing; such as against the people of Kurdistan. And we know that weapons of the type promoted at DSEI will be used to torture and repress people based on their political views, faith, gender, or sexuality in places like Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the tools of oppression are literal – and they are for sale at DSEI arms fair.”