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Courts Trial begins against activists who tried to shut down the arms fair

TRIALS open today against activists who tried to shut down the massive DSEI arms fair.

More than 100 campaigners were arrested in September during peaceful protests outside London’s Excel Centre during one of the world’s biggest arms fairs.

Now 43 of them will go on trial for “obstruction of the highway” at Stratford magistrates’ court between today and March 8. The others arrested had their charges dropped.

Campaign Against Arms Trade’s (CAAT) Andrew Smith complained that the policing had been “bang out of order.”

He said: “The protesters rightly opposed the presence of human rights abusers and arms dealers.

“London is a global city, with thousands of residents who have fled the same regimes that were attending DSEI.

“The police should have been looking at the despots, dictatorships and torturers that were in attendance, not intimidating and criminalising those that stood up to them.”

The arms fair represented human rights abusing regimes and dictatorships including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, the Philippines, Turkey and Thailand.

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