Protests and actions against DSEi, the world's largest arms fair which is held every two years in London. See http://www.dsei.org
The 4th Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) to be held at the ExCeL Centre in London's Docklands was the focus of a concerted campaign in response to the callout for a Week of Action".
Some actions took place in advance of the opening, with Army recruitment adverts subvertised in Oxford, and a lock-on and weapons inspection at MSI in Norwich by Norfolk Campaign Against the Arms Trade. Actions on the previous day included a picket of a defence conference in Central London, and an action at AWE Aldermaston.
On the opening day, Tuesday 11th September, the security cordon around DSEi, was breached shortly after 7.30am , when a group of about 20 activists ran into the car park. Later a solidarity blockade of BAE took place in Manchester. About 80 people joined a CAAT march and rally, and about 50 cyclists arrived at Custom House DLR station from a critical mass style ride that left Bank tube station mid-morning. Two people were arrested after 'rivers of blood' were poured onto the ramparts of the Arms Fair venue.
Space Hijackers managed to get a tank and sound system to the main entrance of ExCeL, after diverting the police with a decoy tank. They auctioned off the tank and invited the 200 strong crowd to a party against the arms fair to let the fair's delegates know what they think about their murderous business.
On Thursday evening, the arms dealers attended the 'Dinner of Death' held at the Dorchester Hotel. A heavily policed but noisy picket took place , whilst a Critical Mass ride of about 50 cyclists was prevented from reaching the hotel. Earlier in the day, the Princess of Wales fountain was dyed blood red to commemorate victims of cluster bombs, and in Downing Street a protest took place where a pensioner and legal observer were arrested.
The week of actions against the DSEI arms fair continued on Thursday night. The most powerful weapons buyers and sellers gathered at the Dorchester Hotel in London's Park Lane for a luxury dinner with arms deals on the side. The DSEi/DMA dinner is an important part of the DSEi week, both for networking within the arms industry and as an opportunity to make agreements for weapons sales, perhaps over a glass of blood-red wine.
A protest outside the hotel was called, and a Bikes Not Bombs Critical Mass gathered at the South Bank to move towards Park Lane. Earlier in the day the Princess of Wales fountain was dyed blood red to remember victims of cluster bombs, whilst police activity continued in Rampart Street where several people were searched and one arrested in relation to the DSEi protests.
Timeline Of Events: See full Ticker
The security cordon around DSEi, the "fastest-growing defence show in the world." was breached shortly after 7.30am this morning, when a group of about 20 activists ran into the car park of the ExCeL Centre in London's docklands, where the exhibition opened today. A solidarity blockade of BAE took place in Manchester. About 80 people joined a CAAT march and rally, and about 50 cyclists arrived at Custom House DLR station from a critical mass style ride that left Bank tube station mid-morning. Space Hijackers managed to get a tank and sound system to the main entrance of ExCeL, after diverting the police with a decoy tank. They auctioned off the tank and invited the 200 strong crowd to a party against the arms fair so to let the fair's delegates know what they think about their murderous business.
Timeline Of Events: See full Ticker
Outline of Day Events:
17:30: Protestors have been shouting slogans and jeering arms fair delegates as they leave via Canning Town DLR station. One banner reads "Stop Dealing in Death". The area is still full of police who continue to stop and search small groups of protestors, but most delegates have now left.
17:00: Critical Mass has moved off towards Canning Town. Tank has left the West Entrance.
16:30: Many police reported to be at Canning Town station which is used by the delegates to leave the arms fair
16:00: The tank was sold for $50 [.wav audio report]. The party continues.
15:45: Critical Mass has arrived at the West Gate, where police are placing barriers around the tank and protestors. The auction of the tank starts at 16:00 [.wav audio report]
15:10 The second tank has now been driven off the low loader and has approached the West gate of DSEi where it has parked blocking the mini roundabout entrance [.wav audio report]. The turret is facing the arms fair, music is blasting out and a 'For Sale' sign has been hung on the side. [Aduio reports: 1 | 2]
14:25 Another rogue tank has been spotted on a low loader lorry heading towards DSEi. Protestors are now following behind it. The Space Hijackers tank in Lochnagar Street in undergoing a lengthy police inspection. [.wav audio report]
14:10 After negotiating a planned route with the police the Space Hijackers Tank finally moved off, but has now been stopped after advancing only around 10 yards. A police officer has just said that they intend to carry out a vehicle check on the tank and may also search the 9 or so occupants of the tank - he estimated this could take up to an hour. [.wav audio report]
14:00 Around 80 people are protesting outside Custom House DLR (Docklands Light Railway) station next to DSEi. They were joined by some of the cyclists who were on an earlier critical mass type demonstration. There are reports of police searching people coming off the DLR.
Following a call-out from Disarm DSEi, a wave of autonomous actions against the arms trade took place around the UK over the weekend of 28-30 July, 2007. Actions included a protest at Heckler & Koch's small arms factory in Nottingham; visits to arms manufacturer Raytheon and mercenary company Erinys in London and to arms factory EDO MBM in Brighton; an Anti-DSEi stall in Brick Lane, East London, to raise funds for the Space Hijackers to 'buy a tank'; and protests at the MOD Defence Export Services Organisation and the adjacent armed forces recruitment centre.
But this is just the beginning; activists are flexing their muscles ready to take on the world's largest arms fair when it returns to the Excel Centre in East London on 11th-14th September. For further information, see www.dsei.org.
About 30-40 people gathered at the UK headquarters of Heckler & Koch, the world's second-largest manufacturer of handguns, assault rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers. It was recently found out that their HQ is based on an industrial estate in Lenton, Nottingham so some people decided to pay them a visit...
There were about the same amount of police officers as protesters, in an attempt to keep them off the actual estate where the company is based. There was also the honour of the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) who travelled all the way from London for the event. The demonstration was called by the Nottingham group of 'Disarm DSEi' which is a grassroots campaign against the UK’s largest arms fair, at which Heckler & Koch will be exhibiting their weapons later this year.
The Shepard Group annual conference on Electronic Warfare was successfully disrupted by activists on Tuesday 15th by a surprise action. The Olympia Conference Centre in central London hosted the event that, under the title of "First in Defence - First to Counter", arms dealers converged to sell 'high tech' weaponry and assorted murder equipment to each other. People who are involved in campaigning against the arms trade were not going to let it go unnoticed.
Protesters managed to get onto the roof and drop a banner that said "Smart Bombs- Stupid Wars" whilst other demonstrators in suits managed to infiltrate the conference. After a tour of the place they were able to disrupt events with shouts of "Murderers! War Criminals!" before being thrown out by large men in ill-fitting suits.
Meanwhile as this was happening a Samba band turned up as protesters with megaphones and flyers told passers by and staff at the Olympia Conference Centre about the war crimes committed by the delegates present at the conference. A US officer was spotted walking away from the conference and was hounded by demonstrators. The action lasted over two hours, and there were no arrests. [Read full article and Photos]