Oxfam campaigners urge people to sign Arms Trade Treaty petition in Norwich

Campaigners have taken to the streets of Norwich yesterday to urge people to sign a petition for an Arms Trade Treaty which is being run by Oxfam.

Local volunteers from the Bedford Street Oxfam shop dressed as bananas and carried toy guns around Norwich, after it was revealed it is easier to sell guns than bananas.

The shop's window was also covered in toy guns and bananas, with shocking messages written on the bananas such as 'each year enough bullets are produced for each person on the planet to be shot twice'.

The treaty that Oxfam is campaigning for aims to stop weapons transfers that fuel conflict and human rights abuses, ahead of world political leaders meeting at a United Nations conference in New York in July.

Several Norwich businesses also got involved, with Franks Bar, in Bedford Street, making a banana cake and agreeing to host a petition and Finneys milkshake bar, off Pottergate, agreeing to make a milkshake.

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One of the volunteers, Ben Marsh, said: 'There are more regulations governing the trade in bananas than guns, which is a farce. It's ridiculous.

'Dressing as bananas is an attention grabbing way of highlighting the serious issue of the unregulated arms trade, which kills a person every minute and keeps millions more living in fear and poverty.

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'We are calling on people in Norwich to get involved and spread awareness of the campaign. Please sign our petition!'

In 2006 there were 153 countries signed up to negotiate a global Arms Trade Treaty and since then negotiations have been ongoing, leading to the vote on the final treaty in July.

Oxfam has estimated that the absence of a single binding treaty has allowed at least �1.38bn worth of arms and ammunition to be imported under arms embargoes between 2000 and 2010.

The international development charity, which works to alleviate poverty and suffering around the world, is calling for the UK government to ensure a 'bulletproof' treaty is signed.

Nationally Oxfam and Amnesty together have already gained over 40,000 signatures but are looking for 100,000.

To add your name to the Oxfam petition, visit the Beford Street shop in Norwich or go to www.oxfam.org.uk/controlarms

- Are you launching a campaign in Norwich? Contact Local Life editor David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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