FAO Newsdesks - 25th July 2002
Three Arrested after Disrupting Arms Dinner
Three members of the London Catholic Worker gate-grashed the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SPAC) reception for delegates to the Farnborough Airshow this evening.
Father Martin Newell, Scott Albrecht and Maria Albrecht wore white shirts splattered with red paint, symbolising blood of innocent victims, shed as a consequence of the arms trade. The three disrupted the dinner by repeatedly chanting "thou shalt not kill"
Martin Newell said:
"The Bishops of Africa have called on Western Christians to engage with decision makers and arms traders to stop the indiscriminate sale of weapons."
Quoting the Bishops, he said: "The continent is burning and bleeding in many places& It is imperative that there be a stop to arms sales to groups locked in conflicts in Africa." (Message of African Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1994)
"We came here this evening in response to this call," he said.
Father Martin Newell is a Catholic priest in east London. Scott and Maria Albrecht are married with 4 children, and live in St Albans.
A dozen protesters leafleted delegates as they went into the dinner, despite a high police presence. When Jack Straw, foreign secretary, walked into the plush hotel, where he was due to speak, he was harangued by protesters, one of whom shouted "Jack Straw you scumbag". One woman was arrested.
Campaign Against Arms Trade are organising a protest at the Farnborough air show on Thursday morning. Meet at Waterloo train station around 9.30, to catch the 9.46 train. Contact CAAT on 020 7281 0297 for more information.