10 May 2011
"Spirit of Summer" not "Spirit of Slaughter" say arms trade campaigners
London Campaign Against Arms Trade (London CAAT) members will be channelling the spirit of summer this Saturday as they protest outside the Spirit of Summer Fair.
The owners of this fair are Clarion Events, who also own the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair, a biennial event that takes place in east London, where countries with dubious human rights records are invited to buy the latest weapons.
London CAAT will be bringing the message that Clarion's involvement in the arms trade is unacceptable and incompatible with their organisation of consumer-friendly events such as the Spirit of Summer Fair. Summery items, including a paddling pool, will be used to visualise the anti-arms trade message.
London CAAT member Rose Shawyer said:
Selling weapons that are used to oppress and slaughter people is not in keeping with the spirit of summer. Clarion should immediately cease their involvement in the arms trade and focus on the more reputable aspects of their business.
London CAAT will be at the show from 11am till 1pm on Saturday 14 May – the show takes place at the Olympia exhibition centre.
The pressure on Clarion will intensify as DSEI grows closer. Wednesday, 11 May, will see the first of a regular vigil outside the Clarion Events offices in London's Hatton Garden. The vigil will be from 10.30am till 12.30pm outside The Energy Exchange, 86 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8QQ. A second vigil is planned for Thursday 19 May.
For further information contact CAAT's media assistant Ian Pocock on 07535 992123 or email Ian Pocock. Photos of the protest will be available.
1. London CAAT was established in late 2006 to peacefully protest against local elements of the arms trade. They have targeted a number of Clarion Events since they purchased the DSEi arms fair.
2. Defence and Security Equipment International (formerly Defence Systems and Equipment International), or DSEi, is one of the world's biggest arms fairs and has been held in the ExCeL centre in East London's Docklands since 1999. The most recent DSEi arms fair took place in September 2009 - the next is scheduled for 13-16 September 2011. DSEi receives major financial, logistical and political support from the UK government, most notably through UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation. Columbia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were invited to DSEi 2009, the same year they appeared on the list of countries of concern in the Foreign Office's annual report on Human Rights.
3. Clarion Events brought DSEi and two other arms fair in May 2008. They have since brought a number of other arms fairs and have joined the Defence Manufacturers Association. Further information on arms fairs is on CAAT website. Clarion Events also run a wide range of events such as the Baby Show and the Spirit of Summer Fair.