Action against the arms fair in 2011

National Gallery Demo

Protesters made sure the arms dealers didn’t feel welcome at their drinks reception in the evening. Credit: Phillip Wood

Arming repressive regimes. Boosting arms company profits. Displaying the latest killing technology. The world’s biggest arms fair – DSEi – took place in East London in September 2011.

In 2011, we witnessed more of the horror that comes when the UK arms repressive regimes — armoured vehicles used to suppress protest in Libya and Bahrain were sold by the UK, along with crowd control equipment and tear gas.

Stop The Arms Fair coalition called an amazing day of action on 13th September. Following a kayak blockade of a warship at DSEi on the Saturday, the day of action included rolling die-ins and blockades of the arms fair gates, a colourful protest and lobby at parliament, a huge die-in outside BAE Systems, and protesting the arms dealers as they were wined and dined at the National Gallery.

For photos and reports see:

Loads of creative action took place against the arms fair in September 2011. To get a flavour, have a look at the list of what was advertised in advance…

Stop the Arms Fair are hosting a special session at the Pogo Cafe in Hackney with everything you need to know about DSEi. Join us from 6pm for vegan pizza and resistance! [More info on the facebook event]

Green and Black Cross will give you comprehensive legal observer training from experienced legal observers before you hit the streets. Runs across two evenings (7-9pm) at the London Action Resouce Centre [More info]

8pm, Conway Hall, Holborn, London. Come along to find out more in the week before the arms fair at the London Region CND Meeting.

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry is organising a seminar afternoon called “MIDDLE EAST: A VAST MARKET FOR UK DEFENCE AND SECURITY COMPANIES”. CAAT suggest: “don your finest pinstripes and join us outside the Royal Bank of Scotland, 250 Bishopsgate, at 3pm on Thursday 8th September for an action to say This is NOT OK.” [More info][Event page]

More supporters (musical and non-musical) needed. Outside the Western entrance to Excel Exhibition Centre. From Custom House Docklands Light Railway Station, just follow the signs to the ExCeL Centre. [More info]

1pm. Meeting at The Bandstand, Castle Park, Bristol, BS1. Rolling Picket of Investors in Arms. [More info]

Meet 10am at Space Hijacker HQ. We leave for the action at 12 midday (Don’t be late) [More info]

To protest DSEi, Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association will have a banner making workshop on Sunday 11th September at 2pm at Mile End Park in preparation for the protest. We will meet outside the Palm Tree pub, off the canal and Haverfield Road and will move on to the park proper to make our banner. [More info]

Legal Defence Monitoring Group and Green and Black Cross will give you comprehensive legal observer training from experienced legal observers before you hit the streets. [More info]

This year’s Christian Network Day of Prayer will take place on the eve of DSEi, one of the world’s largest arms fairs, and on a poignant date ten years from the attacks on the twin towers: Sunday 11 September 2011. Many will already be reflecting on the legacy of that day: two illegal wars, increased inter-community tension, and an increasingly militarised approach to security. Please put the date in your diary, and download materials to encourage reflection in your Christian community. [More info]

Information about the day of action, keeping updated, accommodation, legal bits and pieces, and more! 2pm til 9:30pm. [More info]

This is a silent vigil open to people of all faiths and none. [More info]

UK Action Medics and Green and Black Cross Medics are a network of activists who have medical skills, from first aid to qualified doctors. We provide first aid at demos and actions, but also offer training.
This first aid workshop aims to teach you some basic first aid skills specific to protest situations so you can keep yourself and your buddies safe. You don’t need to bring anything with you to this workshop but enthusiasm! The training will be held at Ratstar, 298 Camberwell Road, London. For further info please email spiky@hush.com or check out the green and black cross medics facebook page.

7pm-8pm, Queens Foundation, on the corner of Somerset Road and Farquhar Road, B15 2QH in Edgbaston. The main entrance is off Somerset Road. This is timed to coincide with a similar vigil taking place outside the ExCel Conference and Exhibition Centre in East London which will host the Defence and Security International Arms Fair which will commence the following day. Contact Professor John Hull for more information.

7.30pm-8.30pm, St Lukes Church, Bold St, Liverpool City Centre. Organised by Justice & Peace and Pax Christi.

13th September was the Day of Action against the arms fair:

  • The main access route is the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which many of the 25,000 delegates use on the days of the fair. The DLR is one of the only places where us members of the public are visible to the arms dealers at DSEi. A loud conversation with a friend or a chat with a friendly arms dealer; putting the arms trade on trial or hosting a comedy gig in the carriage – the possibilities for creative action are endless. There have been calls for staggered actions on the DLR. [More info]
  • Meeting Point: Bank Junction, EC2 , 8.30am riding to the ExCeL Centre. Bring noise, colour and contempt. [More info]
  • Activists will be at Custom House DLR station and on the trains from 10am. Last DSEi we visited the banks, the backers of the arms trade. Offices were invaded and windows smashed. This year we are returning to the belly of the beast and confronting the arms dealers directly. In previous years people have locked on to trains, climbed on their roofs, pulled emergency alarms, occupied stations and generally caused disruption and chaos.Tell the dealers what you think of their deadly wares and show their journey to DSEi will not be an easy ride. It’s time to stop the arms dealers in their tracks and make DSEi 2011 a year to remember. (You may want to bring a scarf, gloves and a change of clothes in this unpredictable climate). DSEi, Defence Systems Equipment International, the world’s largest arms fair, takes place every two years at the ExCeL centre in London’s docklands. Over 1200 arms companies will be hawking their deadly wares to 25,000 buyers from around the world, including delegates from some of the world’s most repressive regimes. This year, for the first time, the UK government will be inviting paramilitaries and border security forces. For more information on DSEi and the many reasons why we have to shut it down see www.dsei.org Follow @disarmdsei for updates, #stopdsei

On Wednesday morning, we have organised a debrief space for people to use for whatever they see fit, which will probably be sit and have a chat about the day of action. [More info]

11am start, UEL to ExCeL. The march will take approx 45 minutes, the protest will last until the ‘show ends’ at 5pm, so 6 to hound the big cats buying guns and boom boxes. Meeting and banner making Thursday 8th September UEL Docklands/Sunday 11th Mile End. [More info]

A march for peace and freedom will take place on Wednesday 14th September, from Westminster to the ExCel Centre in east London, where DSEi (Defence and Security Equipment International), the world’s biggest arms fair will be in progress.[More info]

Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, London, SW5 9TA. Clarion are the owners of the DSEi arms fair and must be pressurized into selling it. As members of the Defence Manufacturers Association and owners of other arms fairs, they see clearly see nothing wrong with such destructive events. Come help them see the error of their ways.

People wishing to distribute leaflets to arms dealers and their employees are invited to attend an ELAAF meeting (11/08.11 or 8/09/11) beforehand for briefing and information or email chrisroper@hotmail.com . We hope to leaflet one at a time throughout Wednesday and Thursday. Please say which day and time you could do. This action needs people prepared to risk arrest but not provoke it. [More info]

We’re cycling to ExCel again for the arms dealers reception dinner. Meet Bank Junction, EC2 at 3.30pm. [More info]

After a hard week’s work buying and selling at the world’s largest weapons fair, the arms dealers like to get together for a bit of a banquet. Don’t let them eat in peace! Following up on the successful National Gallery dinner demo, join us at the official DSEi dinner at Excel to remind them again they are not wanted- in impoverished Newham or anywhere else. Meet Tidal Basin 4.30pm Thursday (Royal Victoria DLR) or join the Critical Mass at Bank Junction 3.30pm.

Last day of 2011 Arms Fair. You are invited to come with supporters of EAST LONDON AGAINST ARMS FAIRS to float a wreath for victims of the arms trade on the Royal Victoria Dock. Because of the road works on the Victoria Dock Road the time and meeting place to start the walk has been changed to Tidal Basin Road, near Royal Victoria DLR Station 2.30 pm. You may like to wear black or white, or a black arm band as a sign of mourning. [More info]

Click here to download a PDF of all the public actions (if you print it off on A3 paper it folds into an events booklet).

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