Date(s) - 12/09/2015
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Ann Farr reports:
Workers and volunteers from groups that provide practical support for refugees and asylum seekers in Coventry, gathered in the centre of Coventry today: Coventry Refugee Centre, Circle of Friends and Coventry Peace House. They were joined by refugees from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Libya.
Gathered in the city centre, under the statue of Lady Godiva, known for her action for justice on behalf of the poor, a large crowd heard from speakers making the links between the arms trade, the wars in the Middle East and the refugee crisis.
Passing shoppers stopped to listen and add their messages of welcome to the banner under the statue. Muslims, Sikhs and Christians as well as a large number of Coventry groups were represented, including: Pax Christi, Coventry RC Deanery
Justice and Peace Group, Coventry Quakers, Coventry Friends of Palestine, NUT, Friends of the Earth, Coventry Against Racism, Chapel of Unity Commission, Coventry University students and City Councillors.
Members of Coventry Deanery Justice and Peace Group talked with groups in the gathering about Coventry City Council’s investment of Pension Fund money in firms that are the largest weapons manufacturers in the world, including Lockheed Martin, which has offices on Coventry University campus. As Coventry is known as the City of Peace and Reconciliation, it is seen to be hypocritical to have shares in these companies. For two years the group has been asking the City to take a lead in the divestment from these funds by the West Midlands Consortium and has challenged the University about having a major cluster bombs manufacturer on its premises. The companies in which the Council invests will be making and selling the weapons that are used to terrify, kill and maim the people, as well as destroy the infrastructure, of the countries from which the refugees are fleeing.