One year before the DSEI arms fair is scheduled to return to London's docklands in September 2013, campaigners from Stop the Arms Fair coalition have promised that they will do everything they can to stop it happening. Their call to action signals to the ExCeL Centre, the venue that hosts the arms fair, and the UK government, who supports it, that the event will not take place without challenge.
The DSEI arms fair, one of the world's largest, takes place every two years. In 2011 it hosted delegations from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and seven other authoritarian regimes. Delegations were also invited from countries involved in armed conflict, including Colombia, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Peru and Turkey.
In the call out, launched on 10 September, campaigners explained their reasons for action:
The arms fair is one of the grossest manifestations of the global arms trade and of how our government promotes arms sales to human rights abusers and conflict zones. Huge profits are made by arms companies, but the costs are borne by the UK taxpayer and the millions of people whose lives are blighted by the arms trade. - Campaign Against Arms Trade
Every bomb that is dropped, every bullet that is fired, has to be made somewhere. And wherever that is, it can be resisted. - Smash EDO
The campaigners are calling for a massive day of action on 10 September 2013 if the arms fair goes ahead. In 2011, DSEI was challenged with blockades of arms dealers, banner-drops, a bubble action, mass die-ins, street theatre and MP lobbying.
A Month of Action this September, focuses on the "arms trade on our doorstep". With assistance from an interactive map showing the location of arms companies, protests are taking place throughout the UK against companies who exhibited at the previous DSEI in 2011.
For further information contact CAAT's Outreach and Campaigns Team, Anne-Marie O'Reilly on 0207 281 0287 or or mobile 07990 673 232 or email Anne-Marie O'Reilly.
1. The call out is being co-ordinated by Stop the Arms Fair, a coalition of groups and individuals campaigning to put a stop to DSEI and all future arms fairs.
2. Read the full text of the call out here.