New report highlights DSEi's track record of arming repressive regimes and breaching arms trade laws
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
MEDIA CONFERENCE: Monday 12 September, 1.30pm
Speakers will include London Assembly member Darren Johnson, local councillors and residents, and national campaigners from the Campaign Against Arms Trade and other groups.
· Venue: St Anne's Church, Berwick Rd, Newham E16 (very close to the arms fair's venue, the ExCel Centre)
· Scheduled to follow DSEi's own media briefing at ExCel that morning. Cameras can set up from 1pm onwards - please contact 07903 648 034 or 020 7281 0297
· Nearest station: DLR Custom House/Prince Regent.
As local government, residents, London Mayor Ken Livingstone and even the Metropolitan Police speak out against Europe's largest arms fair, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) today announced a week of protests and events during the fair, to be held in London's Docklands from 13-16 September. Other groups, including Disarm DSEi, will also be organising actions and protests.
Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi), at London's ExCel Centre, will see Defence Ministers John Reid and Lord Drayson welcome arms dealers and buyers from human-rights abusing regimes and conflict zones.
CAAT today also publishes a comprehensive new report, 'DSEi Arms Fair 2005: The global arms trade comes to London'. The report provides journalists with a complete alternative event brochure. It previews the weapons sellers and possible buyers, and gives pointers to potential breaches of arms control laws at the forthcoming arms fair.
CAAT Campaigns Coordinator Anna Jones called upon DSEi's organisers - the Ministry of Defence and publishing giant Reed Elsevier - to make this year's arms fair the last. She said:
“Every stop on the global arms trade circuit expects local people to roll over when the arms dealers come to town. In London this isn't happening. The Ministry of Defence and DSEi's organisers cannot continue to ignore an unprecedented groundswell of opposition to the arms fair, not just from campaigners, but from Londoners, local government and the police. If with all this DSEi isn't cancelled in 2007, it will appear that the government is in the service of arms companies rather than voters.”
A WEEK OF PROTEST
For timings and locations see www.caat.org.uk/armsfairs/dseiprotests.shtml
Other groups will also announce events during the week. See www.dsei.org
Thursday 8 September: 'Stand Up Against the Arms Fair'. Stewart Lee, Felix Dexter and five other leading UK comedians perform in aid of arms trade campaigners.
Saturday 10 September: Musical protest at ExCel Centre, organised by East London Against the Arms Fair
Sunday 11 September: CAAT Alternative Conference – workshops, talks & films
Monday 12 September: Silent candle-lit vigil to ExCel Centre, organsed for victims of the arms trade by East London churches.
Monday 12 September: 1.30pm - Press Conference (details above)
Tuesday 13 September (DSEi arms fair opens): 12 noon - Mass peaceful demonstration from East Ham Central Park to the ExCel Centre. Hundreds of protestors are expected from across the UK and beyond.
Wednesday 14 September: 'Critical mass' bike-ride, East London
Wednesday 14 September: Disarm DSEi day of action
TIMELINE: London says no to arms dealing
19 June: Newham Borough Council passes unanimous motion demanding that DSEi not be held in Newham in the future, and calling the biennial arms fair “immoral, providing opportunity for some of the world's most dictatorial and regressive regimes to come to Newham to buy weaponry that may be used against their own people”.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales tells local press that “I oppose the arms fair being held in Newham. I always have and I always will. My priority will be ensuring that the people of this borough do not suffer because of it.”
22 June: London Mayor Ken Livingstone publicly states that “it is wrong for police resources to be diverted to this event and a travesty that the cost should be borne by Londoners and not the event organisers. Such events are a disgrace and ought to be denounced by all Londoners.”
21 August: Assistant Commissioner Steve House, head of the Metropolitan Police's central operations, tells The Independent that DSEi “is denuding London of policing at a time of unprecedented demand. The defence industry makes huge profits. I think we should be getting some money from the people exhibiting inside the centre. At the moment the taxpayers are having to pay. I don't think it looks right or is right."