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High Court to rule on ExCeL arms fair activists’ acquittal

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 November 2018

The High Court building on the Strand. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

The High Court building on the Strand. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

The High Court will rule on whether the acquittal of eight activists who protested a major international arms fair in Royal Docks was lawful.

Thursday’s hearing follows an appeal from the Crown Prosecution Service, according to campaigners.

Stratford Magistrates’ Court originally acquitted the group back in February following their arrest for blocking roads leading to last year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) weapons show, one of the largest events of its type.

The biennial fair at the ExCeL exhibition centre draws in representatives from human rights-abusing regimes including Saudi Arabia, the biggest buyer of British arms.

“In this appeal, the prosecution is trying to undermine fundamental rights peacefully to protest, hard won by generations of activists on so many progressive causes,” said lawyer Mike Schwarz, who is representing the defendants.

A protest in solidarity with the eight activists will take place outside the court building during proceedings, organisers said.

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