One of the world’s biggest ever trade fairs for guns, bombs, military planes, small arms, mines and tanks is taking place in London from 9th – 12th September 2003.
What is DSEi?
Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi 2003) is an arms fair, sponsored by the British government. It will host arms buyers from all over the world – including countries on Amnesty International’s list of human rights abusers, and others who should be!
Also shopping at this huge arms fair will be delegates representing some of the poorest countries in Africa and Asia. Rich Western governments, including America, Britain, France and Italy, and their weapons companies, will try to get them to buy expensive weapons instead of spending money on education, development and medicine.
The last DSEi exhibition 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 stayed open. 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!
The arms trade, of which DSEi 2003 is an important part, is an international political business made up of multinational companies which make products that kill and maim for profit. These companies play a leading role in the unjust global economic system which causes poverty and abuse of human rights around the world.
Civilians made up 90 percent of all war casualties during the 1990s. Wars continue today only thanks to the arms trade. Due to globalisation, the arms companies operate above the law, outside of trade agreements, and firmly in favour only of the rich and powerful.
The arms business in the UK harms local communities. The London borough of Newham, where DSEi is taking place, is one of the poorest in the country. The people of Newham do not want this fair for weapons of death to come into their community. They want better education, housing, health, job creation and living wages as a minimal starting point.
The British government spends millions subsidising the arms trade, while people are too poor to eat healthily, their schools are bursting, their hospitals are run down.
What is being planned?
London, 6th – 12th September 2003.
Most international protest has centred around government institutions. DSEi 2003 is a chance to directly tackle companies and government ministers while they are actually trading in arms.
‘Disarm DSEi’ is co-ordinating a week long festival of action, protest and resistance against the arms fair and the unjust global system which supports it. We are planning a full year ahead, to make it the biggest ever festival against the arms trade.
A number of vigils, demonstrations and actions will be arranged against the arms fair, the companies that exhibit there, the buyers and the governments that pay for the whole show. Participants are also encouraged to plan their own actions and demonstrations. Information on the arms fair, arms companies in London, and other players in the trade will be available.
The Disarm DSEi co-ordinating group is attempting to create a space where various groups can use the methods of protest and tactics of action they believe are most effective. We are working to create an event where diverse groups respect each other’s space, methods of protest and tactics of action.
We will be organising workshops, teach-ins and other gatherings, as well as (very) basic accommodation and a Convergence Centre. Please let us know you are coming. Please translate, copy and distribute this call to action. Please get involved in the organising group. Please mobilise support in your country.