If you know someone who was arrested during the arms fair protests, email Green and Black Cross gbclegal[@]riseup.net. The Green and Black Cross website has a lot of useful information on knowing your rights; what to do if you get arrested, and how to support someone who has been arrested.
Following five days of disruption to the set up of DSEI, Saturday 12th September brought together the different themes from throughout the week, and a huge range of groups and individuals, to stand united against the arms fair. It was a packed day of workshops, speeches, performance, and effective action. There was far too much activity to fully report on here, but the below hopefully gives a flavour of the day.
On Friday, our day of action brought together numerous groups to show solidarity with refugees and to explore the links between the arms trade, migration and institutional racism. In the wake of the current crisis in Calais, we wanted to show its unacceptable that instead of welcoming refugees, our government is welcoming arms dealers – the very people who are fueling and profiting from the crisis.
Speech read by a member of Black Dissidents during the ‘Free Movement for People, Not Weapons’ day of action
Responsibility of the trade of arms falls on the entire G8, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the United States. It is no surprise that these countries facilitate the movement of people freely, the movement of arms freely, as well as having little regard for climate change.
Thursday’s day of action focused on the theme of “welfare not warfare” with some excellent speakers and some pretty unique creative action!
At the centre of the day, ‘Conference at the gates’ brought together a range of academics, students and activists to present their research in the shadow of the world’s largest arms fair. Blurring the lines between protest and academia, speakers discussed a range of themes related to the arms trade and militarism.
The day started with a panel discussion around themes including militarism and the body; understandings of pacifism post-9/11; and the ideology driving the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Wednesday was another great day of action at the ExCeL Centre! Deliveries were stopped in the road by a line of wind turbines; Fuel Poverty Action and Global Justice Now ran an engaging workshop on energy democracy, and the members of the Woodcraft Folk blockaded the road. And this was before a cheeky group of activists made it inside the ExCeL Centre and found some rather interesting military equipment…
The start of the week of action against the DSEI arms fair coincides with a grim anniversary for relatives of people who were living and working in the area of the Royal Victoria Docks 75 years ago. But the history of militarism and resistance which is today embodied in the DSEI arms fair goes back to World War One. As thousands of people plan to take action in the next two weeks to stop the arms fair, it is worth remembering how the area that hosts one of the world’s biggest arms fairs has been impacted by war.