demos - blockades - critical masses - security breached

Protests disrupt DSEi 2005; europe's largest arms fair

The much criticised bi-annual DSEi (Europe's largest arms fair) ran from 13-16th September in London, sparkling protests in and around the East End docklands and other parts of the UK.

Protests started before the arms fair opened its doors. On Thursday 8th, the offices of DSEi organisers Reed Elsevier in Kidlington, Oxford, were visited by activists. See [report and pictures] [video] More links below. On Saturday the 10th, a Beat The Bombers - Pary for Peace took place in the streets of east London, including some questionable police tactics against protesters. On Sunday 11th, companies in the south-east of England involved in exhibiting at the arms fair were targetted with disruptive actions against their premises. On Monday evening a Candelit Procession and Prayer Vigil took place, while a NoBorder meeting was held in the convergence center.

On Tuesday 13th DSEi (official website) opened its doors for business at the Excel Centre in London's Docklands. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) organised a march and a Diaper Bloc action (flyer PDF) saw kids donned in police helmets and riot shields whilst imposing a Section 60 on adults inside the designated protest zone. Meanwhile a batallion of the Clown Army toured central London visiting those involved in arms trade and DSEi. Wednesday 15th Sept included a Critical Mass bike ride, a mass action at Custom House Docklands Light Railway Station, and affinity group actions targetting the fair. The day also saw the commencement of the trial of some Corporate Pirates, following an action against Windrush Communications, promoters of the Iraq Procurement events. Throughout the day actions meant many delegate's journeys in and out the arms fair were disrupted, whilst major delays were caused to transport into the area. The Thursday evening saw noisy protests outside the DSEi arms fair luxury dinner at an hotel in central London. A critical mass bicycle protest left Eros statue to also join the demonstration outside the dinner. Report and pictures: 1 | 2 It has been reported that the security of the hotel was breached.

Full Timelines of Events: Sat 10th | Tue 13th | Wed 14th | Thu 15th

CAAT demo: pictures: [1] [2] [3] Pictures and report: [1] Audio: [Speeches mp3] Videos: [1] [2] | Baby Bloc [pics 1 | 2 ] [comment] | Rebel Clown Army detained | Wednesday Critical Mass and Demo: Pictures: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Video: 1 | 2 | Animation | Wednesday Blockades: Pictures: 1 | 2 | 3

Links: Reports of banned cluster bomb on sale at DSEi | Custom House Station: Attempt to intimidate journalist | Lower Lea Crossing: Van used to road block | Aberdeen: activists hung a banner outside an Offshore Europe oil and gas exhibition. Nottingham: arms manufacturers at east Midlands expo. Netherlands: Reed Elsevier targetted. Norwich: Weapons inspectors visit Norwich factory Brighton: DSEi Solidarity Demo (+video)

Background to DSEi: "DSEi Arms Fair 2005: The global arms trade comes to London", an in depth 30 page CAAT report (pdf) | SchNEWS on DSEi | The Arms Fair is Coming to Town a Red Pepper article | Indymedia UK DSEi Protest Archives 2003 | Report from DSEI 2003 | Advert (video) of DSEi exhibitor

DSEi; (pronounced 'Dicey') stands for Defence Systems and Equipment International. The arms fair takes place every two years in London's ExCel exhibition centre, and it is organised by a Richmond based company Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd.

At DSEi 2003 there were 973 exhibitors selling their deadly wares to delegates from a third of the world's countries. The protests included blockades of road and rail, a street party, infiltrating the arms fair and targetting the delegate's dinner. The policing bill for the protests was £4.5 million.

In 2001 there were 664 exhibitors, and delegates were invited from 68 different countries to buy guns, bombs, military planes, small arms, mines and tanks. It took place over 11th September 2001, the day of the attacks on New York and Washington in America. While many businesses around the world closed, the arms fair was not halted. For three more days, countries including America, Israel and 14 different Arab nations continued to shop, side-by-side, for weapons to attack each other with!

This year condemnation of the arms fair has also come from Newham Borough Council and the Mayor of Newham. Events against the arms fair include two counter conferences, press briefings, direct action trainings, a Reclaim the Streets Party, candlelit vigils, marches and blockades. A delegate's dinner protest and critical mass have also just been announced for Thursday 15th evening.

Is spite of police intimidation, harassment and relentless surveillance, actions and protests have been taking place throughout the week against the largest wapon fair in the world.

More Links: Disarm DSEi | Campaign Against The Arms Trade | CAATs Armsfairs.Com | Newham Opposition to War and Racism | RTS Party for Peace | Mobilising The Mediators | Caterpillar products to be exhibited at DSEi 2005 | War on Want's 'Caterpillar the Alternative Report' (pdf) | The UK government and arms trade corruption | Parallel Markets: Corruption in the International Arms Trade | Control Arms Campaign | Anti-DSEi Graffiti | After the Fair is Over | Reed Elsevier Links: The Lancet Medical Journal Attacks its Owners Reed Elsevier | Corporate Watch on Reed Elsevier | CAAT on Reed Elsevier | Reed Leaflet + Action

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Bob 19.Sep.2005 19:37

Just curious. If it wasnt't for bigger and better arms in the 1940s, wouldn't you be speaking German now? That is if you survived the German onslaught. Wasn't the Great War supposed to have ended all wars so that WWII would never happen? Why do you want to be weak now?

War rememberance! a culture of peace on EXPORT of arms

Toby Clarke 21.Sep.2005 12:34

To comment on those interested I do think it is important to remember what happened in the 1930’s to 1940’s and what led up to such a horrific decade of massacre, rape, and genocide. There is a great deal of things that happen now to pre-empt such atrocities and the continuing challenge to fascist ideologies like those of the BNP needs a lot of work. Also let’s remember the atrocities of apartheid South Africa were countless black people lost their loved ones due to racist violence. Now who supported who in that horrible regime? Did the British government back up apartheid with arms because of their colonial interests?

Yes sure states have a right to self defence but when states are given arms at the expense of social spending will that make them more prone to violent outbursts. When a state is funded with arms for the oppression of another group of people wanting self determination because they don’t act in the interests of a states economic activity is that right.

And just exactly how much armament and defence spending do we need. I agree that the extreme nationalist ideology of the Nazi’s needed to be fought. But that still leaves that question of why do we still promote such nationalism, and national pride, as a pre curser to spending on arms and defence for a small group of white men to profit out of perhaps. So please let’s remember the genocide of the Nazi regime and let’s also remember the killings in places like Sierra Leone were UK-based companies were supplying the Sierra Leone rebels with Slovakian weapons were saving the Nigerian presence, a civil war was being fought in that country by two irregular forces, neither of which has heard of the laws of war, and both of which are being or have been armed by British citizens with weapons bought from cash-strapped Eastern Europe.


Interesting points Toby

Bob 21.Sep.2005 21:21

Interesting points. I would like to take it one step further. We know that rotten people exist and these rotten people want to kill other people. You noted many fine examples. I note the Serbs, Muslims..... in the Balkins that all hate eachother because of some long standing ethnic reasons. When one of these groups obtains weapons and the other group does not, it leads to a massacre. We saw that very recently in the Balkins. Shouldn't those groups being threatened have the ability to arm and protect themselves. We as a world community were helpless with regard to the Balkins, so shouldn't the people have a right to arm and protect themselves?