London Indymedia

DSEi Arms Fair Venue (Excel) Blockaded

feature | 02.09.2003 10:48 | DSEi 2003 | Anti-militarism | London | Oxford

Around 40 campaigners blockaded the two main entrances to the Excel Centre in London's Docklands throughout the morning on Monday 1st September, while tanks and other military hardware waited to be brought inside. Excel is the venue for the DSEi arms fair due to be held next week from 9th-12th Sept - a week of counter events, protests and actions will run alongside starting on the 6th (see Disarm DSEi.

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.

Also see DSEi 2003 special section

East London activist, Jason Hetfield, said “The arms business in the UK harms local communities. The borough of Newham where I live, and 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, health and job creation.”

The action is just one of many being organised over the next couple of weeks by a range of different groups intent on shutting DSEi down and ending this abhorrent trade in death.

1)At the last DSEI arms fair in 2001 there were 664 exhibitors and delegates were invited from 68 different countries to buy guns, bombs, military planes, small arms, mines and tanks. It took place over 11th September 2001 – the day of the attacks on New York and Washington in America. While many events around the world were cancelled out of respect for the dead, the arms fair was not halted. 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.

2)British companies continue to sell arms to regimes with atrocious human rights records such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Colombia and the US. The cost of military budgets to many countries attending DSEi has vast implications for the on-going development of education, health and social amenities e.g. The recent £3bn arms deal to South Africa.

3)For more information regarding the other actions planned for this week and some of the participating groups

see .

For more information on the arms trade see



Hide the following 5 comments

first ever non-violent direct action

03.09.2003 00:48

This was an inspirational action to be on. It was great to see the immediate results as military vehicles were forced to turn back away from the DSEI arms fair. It was my first ever non-violent direct action, and apart from arguing with a few aggressive builders about the rights and wrongs of the international arms trade, everything went pretty smoothly. I reckon some of the police actually agreed with our reasons for being there.

Having only done stuff like anti-war leafleting, stalls and meetings in the past, it was good to be in a support role to those who were arrested without getting arrested myself. It also helped me to better understand what NV direct action's all about, especially seeing it first hand.

Spent a lot of time just chatting to the people who stopped to look - about why we we protesting and explaining about DSEI. Also helped to supply the people in the thick of the action with food, water, fags etc.

Basically just saying that it worked pretty well and am glad I did it.


Non-violent direct action is not just for radicals

04.09.2003 00:24

Ian in his comments shows that Non-violent direct action is effective and anyone can do it. It is not just for extremeists. It has an immediate and direct impact, is inspirational and makes a difference. Being able to stop military vehicles entering the arms fair is empowering. You as an ordinary citizen can stand up and make a difference. If more people tried it there would be no arms fair.



11.09.2003 21:23

Its a worthy action and v effective as lots of attention is drawn to the issues.. These are people who break the rules all the time.. Remember the big Gun to Iraq.. thier also very difficult to police across the national borders.

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Grunt II

11.09.2003 21:34

Grunt Live at June 18th Carnival against Capitalism.. Kutmaster K
Grunt Live at June 18th Carnival against Capitalism.. Kutmaster K

Grunt Live at Indian Farmers Benifit in aid of their protest at G8... Groover
Grunt Live at Indian Farmers Benifit in aid of their protest at G8... Groover

Good local news covarage on these protests and thats the point. No protest No news...

here's some pics from june 18th ace for old folks

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Mainstream media coverage

12.09.2003 16:06

A few of us gave some comments to the today programme when we were at court last friday. It's quite sympathetic coverage so i thought I'd put it up, though I wasn't totally happy with their portrayal of us as half crack activists and half 'raw recruits'! I guess with the mainstream media they've always got an angle that they want to get across but overall I think this was worth doing - plus it was something to play to my mum!



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