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Elderly pacifist charged for displaying a poster on her back to arms dealers

Chris | 19.09.2007 09:27 | DSEi 2007 | Anti-militarism

A 66 year old female pacifist, with a freedom pass to travel throughout London, was arrested at Custom House station on 13 Sept, for the crime of displaying on her back a poster saying "Remember the victims of the arms trade". This peaceful elderly woman was handcuffed, manhandled, held overnight, released on bail, and is now awaiting trial on 5th November, with pre-trial review on 4 October.

Gwyn, a 66 year old pacifist, was standing on the platform at Custom House DLR station, by the ExCel Centre where the DSEi arms fair was going on, about 1.30pm Thursday 13 September. Her back was visible to arms traders waiting to go and sell more means of killing people. The poster on her back said "Remember the victims of the arms trade." She was arrested by Transport Police and handcuffed. She was then dragged along the ground to the lift. In considerable pain she appealed to the police to take the handcuffs off. They declined. When her
husband Chris came up the stairs to find out what had happened to her she appealed to him to get the police to remove the handcuffs. He tried to persuade the officers to do so, pointing out that she would not harm anybody and would not seek to run away. They refused and pulled him away from her.

She was charged with trespassing on DLR station and refusing to leave. She had her freedom pass on her and was ready to leave, in the direction of Excel She was offered bail on the condition she did not go on the Docklands Light Railway until her court appearance. She refused to accept this condition. She was transferred to Forest Gate Police Station and held overnight to appear before Stratford Magistrates on Friday 14 September.

At about midday Friday, the Magistrate heard her plea of not guilty. She was bailed to appear for trial on Monday November 5th at 9.30 am with a pre-trial review the afternoon of Thursday 4th Otober at the Magistrates Court, 389-397 High Street, Stratford E15. Supporters welcome The bail conditions were that she not go on DLR land or the Excel Centre until midday Saturday 15th September. She was not required to accept or sign to keep the condtions which would have prevented her communicating with the arms traders.