For immediate release 2003-08-21
Around 15 people arrived at Apex Tower, in New Malden High Street, at 9 o'Clock this morning. Some protesters hung a banner from the front of the building, and did a 'die-in'. 3 people managed to get inside the building where they handed out leaflets asking staff to consciensiously object to spearheads role in organizing DSEi.
Leaflets were handed out to passers by, and office staff, explaining the role of Spearhead in organizing DSEi, and asking staff to consider conscientiously objecting to the event.
One of the protesters, Sally Mander said, "We believe Spearhead's involvement in the promotion of armed conflict is a crime against peace. The arms trade fuels war and terrorism. We could feed the world 14 times over on the amount spent on weapons. This arms fair is a hideous market place of weapons of mass destruction and we're not prepared to stay at home and ignore the trade in death that's going on right under our noses."
---NOTES FOR EDITORS---
At the first DSEi in 1999 the Pakistan Ordnance Factory and a Romanian arms firm were both prepared to supply land mines, anned under international law, to undercover journalists. The exhibition has dealers from organisations including BAe who sold hawk jets to the Indonesian government who then used them to commit genocide in East Timor, and Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (dstl) which includes Porton Down - manufacturers and researchers of Chemical and Biological Weapons.
At the last DSEi in September 2001 arms dealers from countries well known for abuses of human rights like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Algeria, Turkey, Colombia, China and Nigeria were invited, and it is thought that they will again be present.
According to the UN Human Development Report, world governments spend £719 billion a year on the arms trade, 14 times more than is needed to eradicate absolute poverty from the world.
There is an ongoing campaign against the DSEi event, see www.destroydsei.org, www.dsei.org
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