UK DSEi 2003 Feature Archive
[read report] | [photos + video] | [radio programme]
Meanwhile, other Oxford people joined in with a variety of actions during the week.
Legal Update 16th September here.
Samba player in deep trouble after having been badly beaten by police and spending two days at Charing Cross police station; Witness appeal.
Liberty are asking for reports from people who were stopped and searched, ASAP. An email list has been set up for people who were arrested / beaten etc..
Since the 1st of September, 144 people have been arrested in protests against the Defence Systems and Equipment international arms fair (DSEi) that has been taking place in East London. Policing tactics have been condemned by a wide range of people and Liberty is have won the right to seek a High Court injunction over use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000; they have also offered to provide legal representation for anyone stopped or detained under this legislation. Bindmans Lawyers have also requested information or witnesses from DSEi.
- Legal resources:
- Activists' Legal Project
- Legal Defence & Monitoring Group
- free B.E.A.G.L.E.S. legal resource centre
- Urban75 legal page
Numerous requests for witnesses have been made on the UK indymedia newswire [1 2 3 4 5 6]. There have also been several videos posted showing police violence against demonstrators which may provide evidence [ 1 2 - more can be found on the full reports from the 9th, 10th and 11th September].
Meanwhile, Anti-War demonstrators are still being threatened with - and receiving - harsh sentences. Protestors from Fairford come to trial next week while some are still fighting to get the charges reduced before they come to trial (Background to the case). Yet others are still looking for witnesses and some, like Ulla Roder (who was arrested for damaging a Tornado war-plane), have had their trials delayed numerous times.
Further afield, Simon Chapman and the Thessalonikki 7 remain imprisoned in Greece (solidarity website). Simon's first appeal has failed (against the charges) and he is currently awaiting the results of a second appeal. Key evidence such as the video have been re-submitted. In the United States, webmaster of raisethefist.com Sherman Austin has been imprisoned for 1 year; he has since been subject to death threats and is being kept in solitary on the grounds of safety as a reason.
Thousands of protesters, peasant and farmers organization, workers, environmentalists, trade unionists and many other groups opposing the World Trade Organization, corporate globalisation and militarism from around the world and Latin America are converging in Cancun, Mexico this week, the location for this weeks WTO meeting.
On Wednesday, Korean farmer Kyong Lee took his life in protest against WTO policy, while demonstrators tore down the fence surrounding the summit but refused to enter the summit grounds. The Mexican president Vicente Fox had ordered a police-led campaign of misinformation and barricades (Report) and prevented a teach-in organized by the International Forum on Globalization. Police repression is high. At least 8 protesters have been seriously injured during the Thursday march. Many other protesters throughout the week have been injured, threatened with deportation, banned from Cancun and refused entry to the country.
Background: UK IMC article
11-09-2003 13:27The official week of events (6th-12th sept) against DSEi, Europe's largest arms fair had seen counter-conferences, vigils, film screenings, protests, direct action, and blockades all taking place - see the DSEi 2003 Special Section). Sept 11th was the penultimate day of the arms fair:
Trafalgar Square became Red Square, as anti-arms trade campaigners filled its famous fountain with fake blood. See Photos and Report and Report Two,
Sept 11th was also the auspicious date chosen for the DSEi / DMA Gala Dinner at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in central London. Arms dealers dined in luxury while around the world the dead were remembered (see Guardian article).
Anti-Arms protestors and peace activists showed their disgust outside the hotel throughout the evening with a noise demonstration. Diners arriving were greeted with shouts of "How many children have you killed today?", while the surrounding streets were repeatedly blocked by cyclists and drummers. Hundreds of police, some in riot gear sealed the area off and were overly aggressive, injuring at least one person who needed hospitalisation (see witness appeal).
There was strong support from passers by, while at least one person infiltrated the hotel dressed in a ball dress. Free food was given out as people stayed late into the night making as much noise as possible, banging pots and pans.
After holding their arms fair gala dinner on September 11th, the world's arms industry left the Lancaster Hotel under heavy police guard. They were able to leave the area via Lancaster Gate Tube Station, which, closed to members of the public, was commandeered for arms dealer only transport.
See Full Timeline
Reports: 1, 2
Pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4
Audio: Samba soundscape from arms gala dinner, Meeting the DSEi dealers
Video: 3 short clips, video 2
Recent mainstream articles: 1,2, roundup
Following on from the successful action at Fluent last week, many Sheffield protestors took their protest to the heart of the east end of London for the DSEi main event.
One Sheffield person was arrested on Tuesday and at least 3 people from Sheffield were arrested on Wednesday and taken to Charring Cross police station. One of them might have been charged with assault.
Monday BAE action
"Whose streets? Our streets!"
Early in the morning the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) was stopped in the first of several actions (see reports:   and pics:   ) with activists D-locking themselves onto the train at various stations or climbing onto the roof (see video). This disrupted the DLR for much of the day. Also on the DLR, activists engaged in "train theatre" posing as arms dealers (report and pics). On their way to the Excel centre they announced they had arms for sale two opened their cases revealing various sets of arms (prosthetic and dolls arms) they had to sell.
At Custom House DLR (pic others went to a "Meet the Delegates" action. From eight in the morning a Critical Mass left from the City of London to the Docklands (pics:   and video. On their way to the Excel around a hundred cyclists blocked traffic while comedian Mark Thomas entertained the crowds. Just after nine the Palestine support group, International Solidarity movement (ISM) visited the Israeli arms company Rafael in an attempted office occupation, later unfurling banners outside.
At eleven o'clock the two meeting points of "Storm the Death Fair" at Connaught Bridge underpass and "Blockade the Death Fair" at Canning Town roundabout allowed affinity groups to converge to form mobile groups forming and splitting as they engaged in their various actions. At Canning Town the group was prevented from moving by police but soon shoved their way through and moved off down Silvertown and along Victoria Dock road.
At Connaught Bridge a car partially blocked the ExCel approach road in a D-lock action (pics) while groups moved in a variety of directions, many up to Connaught roundabout and some down to the underpass (pics:   ), blockading the traffic for several hours. Groups remained mobile; some pushing through police lines as other roads nearby were temporarily occupied or blockaded.
As pink and silver Samba drummed their way along Victoria Dock rd (pics), blocking the road with crash barriers, clashes occurred as police pushed the crowd against the railings of a recreation park. Samba managed to move off up Freemasons Road joined by Sheffield samba band and preceded to block the A13 main road (pics). There were scuffles and arrests as police chased the crowd in different directions.
Meanwhile at the ExCel centre six activists infiltrated DSEi, occupying two tanks, daubing them in ‘Stop Death’ banners and locking on, before being removed by security (see press release, pics and video). Some delegates are forced to walk to DSEi due to the disruption caused by the protests (see delegate video).
At 4pm the Reclaim the Streets party mobilised many of the roaming affinity groups at Rathbone Market where a crowd of around 300 took to the streets soon meeting up with a critical mass bicycle group complete with sound system. On the A13 the crowd was eventually blocked in by police (video), later being forced into a park (video), which police had cleared with mounted riot police (video). They were slowly released in small groups after being photographed (reports:   ).
Meanwhile next to Canning Town DLR a second RTS group occupied the roundabout, as the DLR was again stopped, banners hung on top of the flyover ("Disarm DSEi"), arms delegate buses blockaded and riot police deployed. With another samba group playing, there were more arrests and scuffles as police cleared the roads, later blocking in two main groups of protestors for several hours as people tried to push through police lines (pics:   ).
The day had seen a high level of disruption around the arms fair, especially given the relatively small numbers of protestors, while police continued using stop and search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (reports:    pics: , ). There were many arrests, some targeted, some quite violently, throughout the day.
See Full Timeline.
Pictures: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19,20, 21,22,23, 24, 25, 26]
Video:[quicktime,wmv:1, 2,3,4,5, mpeg]
Miscellaneous: Pensioner protest, Corporate media: [1 ,2] Call for evidence of legal support [1,2,3]
Arrests update: 10th, 11th.
Reports from corporate press:   
The first of the two Days of Action against DSEi arms fair have started early this morning. Indymedia UK is covering what is happenning in the streets around the ExCeL building and other locations around London. Click on the "Read More" link below and then croll down to see the timeline of events of Tuesday 9th of September. You can also listen to the live web radio stream. Mainstream Media reports 61 arrests so far in relation to actions against the DSEi arms fair in the last days. Human Rights group Liberty have condemned the policing at the DSEi arms fair.
In the morning one arms company had their doors D-locked whilst another got paintball decoration. Red paint, symbolizing blood was distributed over the main entrance. The CAAT march finished with speeches and before the next event "Fluffy DSEi" policing increased massively. Blockades took place in the afternoon when about 200 people were condoned off for a while. 16 people were arrested today.
Reports: [ 1, 2,3 ,5, 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15, 16]
Pics: [1,2, 3,4,5, 6,7, 8,9,10,11,12]
Videos: quicktime : [1,2,3,4, 5, 6, 7] wmv: [1,2,3,4,5,6] ,mpeg,avi,
Other coverage: Italy IMC, IMC Germany
Miscellaneous: [Infrastructure Information, Background, Mainstream press, Press complaints campaign: [1,2,3], BBC "have your say" ]
A samba action has taken place in London at the BAE offices in London just before 9am this morning. An attempt was made to bestow an award to the company. Entry was gained to the foyer by 6 suited anti-arms campaigners. There were two arrests of people using D-locks on tables. The people arrested are now at Charing Cross Police Station where there has been a supportive samba noise demo. Click here for full report - pictures [1,2] - [ 2 short video clips, longer video clip on Imc Italy]- audio.
On the way from the BAE action to Charing Cross police station the group stopped by at the Army Recruitment Office to voice their protest against the war machine.
In the morning, delegates to the NATO military committee meeting in Cambridge were greeted by a lively show of the street theatre "performing for peace" on Monday morning.Pictures.
Sunday, September 7th:
The two day long Disarm DSEi Conference has started this morning in London. Several workshops, trainings and presentations have taken place at the Convergence centre. Issues discussed have ranged from war and arms trade to Climate Change, whilst, at the same time, workshops on Non Violent Direct Action, Indymedia and Legal briefings have also taken place. All of this has taken place under increased police surveillance. Police stationed just outside the main entrance to the convergence centre, kept taking photographs and video of all those going in or out of the building [Photos]. Some cases of police harrassment were more extreme as several activsts have been followed around the streets of East and North London [Report]
In Cambridge protesters marched on a hotel where defense chiefs from NATO countries have been meeting. The De Vere's hotel was described, by a demonstrator, as having "become an extension of the military bases in the area putting up soldiers from the USA, the UK and other countries". Speakers voiced their discontent about De Vere's involvement with arms dealers and armies and linked the Cambridge NATO meeting with the DSEi arms-fair. [Report & Photos]
Saturday, Sept 6th:
In the morning a boat action took place in order to prevent military ships to enter the Docks for display at DSEi. Several activists were arrested, but released later co-inciding with a solidarity protest in front of Charing Cross Police Station. Read more.
At midday, several hundred people marched from Victoria embankment, past Downing street and Parliament Sq to the Imperial War Museum with two samba bands adding funky rhytms and a positive athmosphere. The march ended at the museum's gardens where a rally took place with speakers from different groups addressing issues of arms trade and in particular the DSEi arms fair.
Saturday, Sept 6th: DSEi attempted to sail 4 warships along the river Thames, through Gallions Reach Lock and into the Royal Victoria Dock near the Excel exhibition centre on Saturday morning.
Three sperate affinity groups attempted to stop the naval vessals getting into Albert dock and DSEi by trying to block the lock gates with people in the water and to prevent the swing bridge from opening by locking-on with D'locks. There was a four hour window in which the tide allowed entry into the docks. The 30 activists succeeded in disrupting the manoeuvre, and the last 2 ships in the convoy aborted their mission and had to stop 7km down stream. Around sixteen people were arrested and taken to Charing Cross Police Station, where a solidarity protest took place to support the arrested and to wait for their release. Some were released without charge - others were charged with swimming in the dock or attempted criminal damage....
Boat action: reports [1,2]; pics [1,2] - video;
Charing Cross police station prisoner solidarity assembly: [pictures | video]
Companies at the fair include Bulgarian small arms firm Arsenal Company, which is reported to have ‘sold small arms for $7-8 million to Chad and Angola’ and in was named as a supplier of arms to Sierra Leone, in breach of the UN embargo. Other CAAT briefings and press releases include:
Debunking the DSEi Myths
DSEi Secret Invite List Exposed
Syria (axis of evil country) Invited To Arms Fair
Public to Foot £1M Policing Bill
Mark Thomas to Open DSEi Convergence Centre - 6th September
Disarm DSEi Press Release: International Protestors to Target UK Arms Fair
Fluffy DSEi NVDA Press Release
Corporate Watch on DSEi Arms Fair
CAAT Release: Protests Challenge London Arms Bazaar
Links: Disarm DSEi, Destroy DSEi, Fluffy DSEi
In recent days three more actions have been carried out against firms due to exhibit at the DSEi Arms Fair in London 9-12th September. Further protests against DSEi in London and NATO's Military Committee in Cambridge are expected over the next few days.
On 5th Friday activists from Birmingham staged a roof-top protest at the headquarters of Caterpillar(UK), in Desford, near Leicester, unfurling a banner reading "Caterkillar – Demolishing Palestine – Demolishing Peace". The action was in protest at the sale of Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozers to Israel (see report and pics).
On Wednesday 3rd activists occupied the roof of a BAe Systems Factory in Byfleet, Surrey hanging a banner reading "Destroy the arms trade" (see report).
Meanwhile on Tuesday 2nd around twenty people took action against Fluent Ltd, a computer modelling software company in Sheffield. Several campaigners barricaded themselves inside the revolving doors while more people climbed up onto the canopy above the main entrance and hung a banner reading "Fluent Deal in Death" (see report, pics). The action followed anti-arms street theatre in the city centre.
Today, as 168 delegates discussed war and the expansion of NATO inside the hotel, activists outside staged a colorful and effective protest with street theatre and music. In the two days of mobilisations local residents were made aware that war is being waged right from their doorsteps.
04-09-2003 09:58In a truly hypocritical move, police have been using Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop and search people suspected of being anti-arms campaigners in and around the area of the DSEi arms fair, due to be held next week. Reports have come in of several instances of the anti-terror legislation being used to stop, detain and search people.
The use of Section 44 allows vehicles and pedestrians to be stopped and searched for no reason. People may be asked to remove outer clothing (coat, hat even shoes) but no more than that. Bags may be searched and pockets emptied. Male officers may search women although they should not touch them. People should receive a ticket after they have been searched which should specify the date, location, officer conducting the search and the results of the search. There is no legal requirement for people to provide their name and address.
LIBERTY, the human rights group, released a 13 page report (pdf)in July focusing on the misuse of Section 44 against anti-war demonstrators around USAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, during the concentrated bombing of Iraq earlier this year. The damning report detailed fundamental breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights in the extensive use of anti-terrorism laws to prevent citizens taking part in legitimate protest and to harrass them. At its most extreme an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old girl.
See Indymedia Feature - more on Section 44
One of the activists, Laura Semple from Oxford, said "DSEi is one of the leading arms fairs in the world, where more than 600 arms companies will be queuing up to strike deals with oppressive regimes and to fuel conflicts all over the globe. We intend to shut it down."
See: Report 1, Update 1, Update 2, Photos, Videos.
At least five people, some from London Rising Tide barricaded themselves into Brown's office and, in the spirit of participatory democracy, attempted to open a constructive dialogue with ECGD staff over the Baku-Ceyhan project.
A banner reading 'Exporting Corruption, Guaranteeing Destruction' was unfurled, but security guards for ECGD office building Exchange Tower and police refused to allow any protest to take place (including the leafletting of local shops) on Exchange Tower's private property.
In recent years the Export Credits Guarantee Department has come under increasing fire for using public money to subsidise the arms trade, for supporting projects enmeshed in gross corruption, and for failing to carry out sufficient research into the benefits of the projects it supports for local people.
Leaflets were also handed out to passers by, and office staff, explaining the role of Spearhead in organising DSEi, and asking staff to consider conscientiously objecting to the event. There were four arrests, but all were later released without charge.
For more on DSEi see the special DSEi 2003 Section.
Quote: "Our calculations show that the Fibre Optic Cables running from the City of London to the Docklands, along the A13, can channel the psychic currents we generate in our psychogeographical activities with enough precision to shut down the arms fair on September 11th 2003."
Six activists gained entry to the Smiths Aerospace production plane in Wolverhampton on Thursday and climbed to the roof of the two storey office unit at the front of the factory. They stayed on the roof throughout the afternoon. At the same time another group of activists carried out a makeshift ‘weapons inspection’ gaining entrance to sensitive production areas.
Roof Top Protest at Smiths Aerospace - West Midlands
11-07-2003 13:36Between 6-12 September, one of the world's largest weapons and arms fairs, Defence Systems Equipment International (DSEi) will take place at the ExCeL Centre in London's Docklands. In parallel a coalition of over 30 groups are organising a week of events against the arms trade, including a two day counter conference, film screenings and exhibitions, vigils, protests and direct action against the arms fair itself. Further explanation of DSEi.
Two years ago up to one thousand campaigners demonstrated outside the Docklands arms fair with a carnival style 'Fiesta of Life Against Death' - see Indymedia coverage | archive (1), (2), (3) | SchNEWS (1), (2) | Squall. That day would prove to be more significant than anyone could have imagined, with the date being 11th September 2001. This year the arms fair will be open for business on the anniversary of the Sept 11th attacks, with the counter mobilisation running from 6th - 12th September, (which also coincides with the WTO Meeting in Cancun, Mexico 10th-14th). Campaigners are also calling for a boycott of the ExCeL centre where the DSEi exibition is taking place. There is also going to be a weekend of anti-DSEi events in London taking place on July 26-27, and a "counter conference" is being planned as part of the Disarm DSEi week of actions.
There are also plans for demonstrations at the RAF Fairford Air Tattoo that is taking place between 15-20 July. The event "provides western military powers with the chance to flaunt their power" and "an opportunity for arms companies to advertise their wares" (see Fairford Peace Watch).
For more information and background see:
Disarm DSEi Campaign
Campaign Against the Arms Trade
Recent SchNEWS on UK Arms Industry