A coalition of campaigning groups, including anti arms trade organisations, local residents and faith groups has announced its intention to “shut down DSEI, the world’s largest arms fair”. It says it wants to “shame the Government” for sponsoring this “disgusting event”.
DSEI is the worlds largest arms fair and is returning to the Excel Centre in Docklands on September 13th after a 2 year absence. It is part-funded by the UK Government and attended by Government ministers.
Campaigners will be launching a series of protests including bike-blockades, a mass lobby of Parliament, pickets of the offices of arms companies and creative actions on the Docklands Light Railway. There will be a candle-lit vigil on the evening of September 12th, at the Excel Centre, to remember the 300,000 people who die every year from arms.
A spokesperson for the Coalition to Stop the Arms Fair said, “We will be doing everything we can to shut down DSEI 2011 and to shame the Government for sponsoring it. This disgusting event needs to come to an end.”
“While local residents in Newham face cuts to public services worth £116 million, it is an outrage that the government is spending taxpayers’ money hosting arms dealers and human rights oppressors, suppressing public opinion and subsidising the arms trade.”
Stop the Arms Fair coalition does not have a spokesperson, but contact details for organisers of many of the actions planned during the week can be found in the events listings here: www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk
Notes to Editors
DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) is reputedly the worlds largest arms event and will feature some 1300 exhibiting companies and 25,000 visitors.
It is held biennially at the Excel Centre in the Docklands.
It is organised by Clarion Events and the Government department UK Trade & Investment’s Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO).
Companies attending will include those involved in the manufacture of cluster bombs and armed drones, for example Lockheed Martin and Textron. Past attendees have included representatives from repressive regimes in Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The event will be attended by Liam Fox MP, the defence secretary. In addition, HMS Dauntless, a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer will be hosting delegations from foreign countries.
For more information on the actions to Stop the Arms Fair: www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk