By Christopher Ralls
SUCCESSFUL protests against 'arms fairs' in Europe and the United States have boosted the morale of a British pressure group which is planning demonstrations against a similar event due to take place in Brighton next month.
The most recent victory for the campaign was the cancellation of an arms bazaar in California. Other successes have ensured that there will be no more arms fairs in Anaheim. California. in Rotterdam or in Wiesbaden.
The Citizens Committee Against the Military Electronics Exposition approached the publishers of a military maga2ine. who organised the arms fair, the owner of the site and the local authorities. They also alerted a number of people in the San Mateo area where the fair was due to be held. A few days later, the organiser announced the cancellation of the exposition, saying he did not want any controversy in the community.
Now the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in Britain is preparing to protest against the exhibition of defence cornponents at the Metropole Hotel, Brighton. from May 12-14.
CAAT says Britain does not need to sell arms. In a recent leaflet it points out that "selling more and more arms does not make people safer, only poorer. Thousands of millions of people are without decent housing. jobs. schools, or health facilities. Yet two-thirds of Britain's arms sales go to Third World countries, where many people's basic needs are unmet".
The Easter weekend saw a number of anti-nuclear demonstrations throughout the country. About 10.000 marchers from 20 Midland towns converged on Rugby on Easter Monday to attend a rally organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
CND general secretary, Mgr Bruce Kent, said more than 50 per cent of people questioned in a recent Marplan poll were opposed to Cruise missiles. He said MPs of all parties should be pressed to take practical steps towards disarmament, and criticised politicians who attempted to show that unilateral and multilateral stands on disarmament were in opposition to each other. Unilateralism did not mean the total abandonment of defence.
On Thursday, Catholics from Oxford handed a petition of more than 1.800 signatures to Mgr David Norris, at Westminster Cathedral, in response to the Bishops Conference request at their November 1980 meeting, for public debate on disarmament.
The petition was accompanied by a statemern saying there was no just use for pia:leas weapons, and that the standard deterrent was in no way compatible with the principle of the sanctity of human life.