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…
Later in the afternoon, a group of activists managed to get inside the ExCeL Centre! They unfurled a Stop the Arms Fair banner in front of a green howitzer that has been supplied to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, Indonesia, Thailand, and used in Mali, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile in Parliament, Caroline Lucas asked a Prime Minister’s Question:
The ongoing harrowing refugee crisis is fuelled by conflict, which in turn is powered in part by the global arms trade. The UK has supplied weapons being used in many areas from which people are now fleeing– including Yemen and Libya. So in the week that London will once again host the world’s largest arms fair, isn’t it time the UK recognised the link between arms sales and the terrible tragedy we are seeing unfolding around us?
David Cameron’s answer: No.
Wednesday’s protests highlighted the link between military spending and climate change. While 130 civil servants work assiduously in the Business Department to promote arms exports, only 1 is employed to do the same for offshore wind.
The UK government spends 25 time more on weapons research than on research into renewable energy. But real security involves tackling the causes of problems, not creating more, and climate change is one of the biggest that we face. CAAT’s research shows that the renewable energy sector has a similar breakdown of skill levels and employs many of the same branches of engineering as arms.
Rather than chasing extreme energy extraction methods like fracking, the government needs to shift its priorities to renewables. The UK has the largest wind resources in Europe and already have as much capacity installed as the rest of the world combined.
The week of action continues tomorrow with a day of action calling for
#WelfareNotWarfare. Head down to the ExCeL Centre for an academic conference on the militarisation of education and actions highlighting the need to shift priorities from military spending.