Hastings and Rye Quakers arrested at London No Faith in War day demo

One of the Hastings Quaker banners SUS-190913-113343001
One of the Hastings Quaker banners SUS-190913-113343001

Ten Quakers from Hastings and Rye joined Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist campaigners from across the country during the No Faith in War day on September 3.

They were there for a day of non-violent resistance against the setting up of the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair. For nine hours they brought to a halt the set-up of the event.

The group said as around 700 people of faith were kneeling, standing or sitting in the road leading to the ExCel Centre, police ordered them to move.

Around 50 people, including two Quakers from Hastings, were arrested, the group said.

David Barry, one of the local Quakers arrested, said: “I was born in 1946 and, living in London, saw the aftermath of war as a child.

“Food was rationed, manufactured goods were in short supply or unavailable, bombed out houses were everywhere and most kids in my school class had lost at least one member of their extended family due to the war. Despite this I constantly heard that we had won the war.

“At the age of eight I watched two kids arguing in a school playground until one hit the other and they ended up fighting. I thought fighting added nothing to either kid’s argument. I realised the difference between these kids and international war was only a matter of scale. I then became a pacifist and have been for 66 years.”

Oliver Robertson, head of witness and worship for Quakers in Britain, said: “Quakers are against all war and preparations for war. Deliberate killing of others denies their humanity and the arms trade, by seeking to profit from killing, is deeply immoral.

“As part of our witness to peace, we held meetings for worship on the road leading to the arms fair venue at the ExCel Centre.

“This was interrupted by a police announcement that we would be arrested if we did not move out of the road.

“Quakers spoke to police officers, including the inspector in charge, explaining that this was not just ‘quiet time’ but a holy gathering.”

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