Keep Christmas for Peace! | 05.11.2008 10:35 | Anti-militarism
Grand Hall, Olympia Exhibition Centre, Kensington, W14 8UX
Wednesday 5 November 10am - 6pm
Thursday 6 November 10am - 6pm
Friday 7 November 10am - 6pm
Saturday 8 November 10am - 6pm
Sunday 9 November 10am - 5pm
Press Release from Campaign Against the Arms Trade
4 November 2008
Christmas Fair owners under pressure over role in arms trade
The Spirit of Christmas Fair will open in London's Olympia Centre tomorrow amidst widespread criticism of its owners, Clarion Events, who have recently bought five arms fairs, including the biennial London arms fair known as Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi).
Several exhibitors have already expressed their disapproval of the arms trade to Clarion's management. A peaceful protest by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will see CAAT supporters dressed as Santa Claus and elves carrying sacks of weapons rather than presents.
The event follows embarrassment for Clarion at their Baby Show last month, when a backlash from exhibitors involved Bounty withdrawing as a sponsor and Unicef refusing to accept donations from ticket sales. Last week, the BBC was criticised for associating its Top Gear programme with Clarion's MPH motor show.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:
"I share the disgust that many people will feel at the thought of arms fair owners celebrating the 'Spirit of Christmas'. Clarion owns arms fairs which have hosted representatives of vicious regimes including China, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. After the Baby Show shambles and the backlash from exhibitors at the Christmas Fair, Clarion's bosses can only restore their reputation by ditching their arms fairs."
1. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade. 80% of CAAT's funding comes from individual supporters' donations. CAAT is strictly nonviolent in all its work.
2. The Spirit of Christmas Fair will take place at the Olympia Centre, London W14 from 5th-9th November. A visual protest will take place on the Hammersmith Road side at 11.00am, with campaigners dressed as Santa Claus and elves. Photographs will be available on request.
3. In May, Clarion Events bought three arms fairs from Reed Elsevier. Reed sold the fairs following a campaign co-ordinated by CAAT. Writers and medical professionals who contributed to Reed's publications had backed the campaign while Reed shareholders had sold their shares in protest. Clarion bought two more arms fairs in September this year.
4. Clarion's arms fairs include the biennial London arms fair, Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi), next due in September 2009. When DSEi last took place, in September 2007, governments invited to attend included a number of regimes with extremely poor human rights records, such as Libya, China, Colombia and Saudi Arabia.
5. Clarion faced a backlash from their own exhibitors at the Baby Show, which took place in London on 17th-19th October. Bounty decided to withdraw as a sponsor of the Show. Unicef pulled out of a deal with the Show that would have seen it receive donations based on ticket sales. The revenue lost to Unicef will be covered by Pampers. A range of other exhibitors wrote to Clarion to express their disagreement with the company's decision to buy arms fairs.
6. On 30th October, CAAT wrote to the BBC concerning the MPH motor show, run by Clarion in association with the BBC's Top Gear programme, which took place in London from 30th October - 2nd November.
7. Spokespeople for CAAT are available for interview.
020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232
Keep Christmas for Peace!