Newham Adversary hits the streets of Docklands

September 5, 2011

Anti-arms trade campaigners have launched a media blitz in East London to protest against the forthcoming arms fair at the ExCeL Centre. Newham Adversary is a one-off special edition newspaper which highlights the unethical nature of the arms trade and the horrors of conflict.

Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), scheduled from 13-16 September, is one of the world’s largest arms fairs. It has been staged in London’s docklands in alternate years since 1999. DSEI is organised by Clarion Events and by UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (DSO), the government’s arms sales promotion unit.

This year the timing is especially poignant, coming as it does on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attack on the twin towers, and in the wake of the Arab Spring during which UK weaponry is still being used against democracy protesters.

On 6 September free copies of Newham Adversary will be handed out to docklands communities whose daily lives will be disrupted before, during and after the controversial arms fair. Over four days, 20,000 arms dealers will descend on the ExCeL Centre. DLR stops, including Custom House, will be closed to non-event visitors and staff, local roads and a footbridge will be blocked and there will be a heavy police presence in the area.

Items in the 8-page Newham Adversary include details of UK banks links to the cluster bomb industry and arms company beneficiaries of the Libya war. The issue also contains an Open Letter to the local community, in English and four other languages, which explains the adverse effect on the local area and outlines the day of action against the arms fair on 13 September.

Newham Adversary editor, Chris Browne, said

Writing, editing and publishing Newham Adversary allows us to get a serious anti-arms fair message out to the residents of the areas surrounding the arms fair. We know most local people don’t want DSEI at ExCeL – they value their community too much to see it used as a shop-window by this squalid bunch of gunrunners. DSEI should get out of the docklands and out of London – in fact it should just close down.

For further information contact Ian Pocock of London Campaign Against Arms Trade on 07535 992123 or email Ian Pocock. Photos of the protest will be available.

Notes
1. The Newham Adversary was produced by the Stop the Arms Fair Coalition.

2. The Stop the Arms Fair coalition are calling a day of action on 13 September. The day will involve protests, vigils, and creative actions on DLR trains. More information can be found on their website at www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

3. Local roads, footpaths and a footbridge will be closed before, during and after DSEI. They include the Custom House DLR station to Royal Victoria Dock Footbridge, and Royal Victoria Footbridge (closed 11-17 September), Dock Edge Public Realm from Royal Victoria Footbridge to Connaught Cut (closed 8-18 September), Dock Edge Public Realm from Corniche to Connaught Cut (closed 11-17 September) and Prince Regent DLR to dockside edge (closed 11-17 September). These routes are regularly used by local residents and commuters.

3. 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. DSEI 2011 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. Colombia, 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.

4. Clarion Events bought 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 the website of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). Clarion Events also run a wide range of events such as the Baby Show and the Spirit of Summer Fair.

ENDS

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