This week, campaigners have been taking action at the Excel centre in East London immediately before Defence & Security Equipment International 2015 (DSEI) which takes places from the 15-18 September and is one of the world’s biggest arms fairs. The action is taking place as arms dealers arrive.
There will be blockades and protests at the main entrances to DSEI all week, with a separate theme every day to highlight the deadly consequences of the arms trade.
- Monday 7 September: Stop arming Israel.
- Tuesday 8 September: No faith in war.
- Wednesday 9 September: Environment day of action.
- Thursday 10 September: Welfare not warfare.
- Friday 11 September: Freedom of movement for people, not weapons.
- Saturday 12 September: Big day of action.
The protest includes music, theater, workshops, discussions, an “exorcism” and other events. There will also be other actions happening during the week of DSEI.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The refugee crisis is showing us the human cost of war and conflict. It is shameful that the UK government is rolling out the red carpet for arms dealers and despots – helping to fuel conflict across the world – at the same time as it is refusing entry to refugees fleeing wars.”
The event will be met with large-scale protests, with a week of action planned for the preceding week to stop the armaments from reaching the venue. Full details of the planned protests can be found here. There will also be other actions happening during the week of DSEI.
The list of countries in attendance will not be published until the first day of the event, but past events have included military delegations from a range of abusive regimes; including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Bahrain.
Andrew continued: “Arms sales aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet, they have deadly consequences. 13 months ago UK arms were being used against the people of Gaza, as they have been repeatedly, and today they are being used against Yemen.”
Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse has gained rare access to Yemen. Tonight he reports on the scale of the humanitarian crisis – and whether the UK is complicit in this disaster.