The week of action against the DSEI arms fair got off to an exciting start today, with the road entrances to the ExCeL Centre blockaded in acts of creative protest.
Activists stopped a military vehicle from entering the site of the arms fair, and held the road for hours with ‘Stop Arming Israel’ banners and chants. There were talks about the UK-Israeli arms trade and the Israeli companies that will be exhibiting at DSEI; and moving testimonies by people in Gaza who have experienced the effect of these deadly weapons were read out. There was a beautiful moment when over 50 people took part in a Dabkeh dance rehearsal while continuing to block the road.
Activists had set up a ‘Pavilion of Shame’ spoofing the Israeli pavilion which will be at the arms fair next week. The Pavilion displayed model weapons and quotes about the ‘battle-tested’ weapons. Alongside the Pavilion of Shame was a Pavilion of Remembrance, which celebrated Palestinian culture and was decorated with a quilt remembering the victims of drone attacks.
It was a really empowering day, and a great start to a week of action to #stopDSEI. The day brought together several grassroots groups and organisations including London Palestine Action, Boycott Israel Network, War on Want, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the Arms Fair.
Head down to the ExCeL Centre tomorrow for day two of the week of action: No Faith in War.