Friends World Committee for Consultation - Europe & Middle East Section


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Quaker Vigil outside largest Arms Fair in Europe

From June 2010:

Yvonne Kressmann of France Yearly Meeting has been maintaining a faithful Quaker presence outside the Eurosatory Arms Fair for over 30 years. Yvonne, who will be 80 next month, and has been receiving treatment for secondary cancer, is determined to bring the Quaker message to the largest arms’ fair in Europe, which takes place in Villepinte, just north of Paris, every two years.

This year, however, Yvonne is not alone. As well as some French Mennonites, she has the support of 10 German Friends, including 5 young Friends, 3 more from Switzerland Yearly Meeting, and Marisa Johnson, Secretatary to FWCC-EMES, from Britain Yearly Meeting.

In sunshine and during a heavy shower of rain, Friends stood showing placards and offering friendly greetings to the people going to and fro the pavillions, where costly armaments were on display.

The 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace Declaration inspired teen-ager Simon Mangels of Heidelberg Meeting, to take the initiative to recruit some young Friends in Germany to join him to come along to support the vigil, as a way of demonstrating our continued Quaker witness to peace. As one of the banners said: “If weapons are the answer, we need a new question”.

The peaceful presence was also reported in some of the press

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