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MASS PROTESTS PLANNED FOR LONDON ARMS FAIR
Thousands of people from the UK and Europe are expected to travel to London later this month to join up with locals trying to shut down Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi), the world's largest arms fair. DSEi will be held at the ExCeL centre in London Docklands from 13 – 16 September despite opposition from Newham council and Mayor Ken Livingstone.
An Umbrella organisation, DISARM DSEi, comprising over sixty supporting groups is co-ordinating a week of action and resistance to the fair. DISARM DSEi is calling for a week of action and resistance against this evil trade, both at the exhibition and at relevant targets across the country.
During the 1990s, civilians made up 90 percent of all war casualties. The arms trade is an international political business made up of multinational companies that kill and maim for profit. These companies play a leading role in the unjust global economic system which causes poverty and abuse of human rights around the world.
David Jones from Haringey who plans to join the protests said “It is unbelievable that a month after the London bombings, London is hosting the world's largest arms fair. We have to act to stop this trade in terror and death.”
Notes for Editors:
1.Defence Systems and Equipment International is a biennial event. At DSEi 2003 there were 973 exhibitors selling their deadly wares to delegates from a third of the world’s countries.
2.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 businesses around the world closed, 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!
3.In 2003 protests included blockades of road and rail, a street party, infiltrating the arms fair and targetting the delegate's dinner. The policing bill for the protests was £4.5 million.
4.For a current list of what is planned and for a list of supporting groups see www.dsei.org
5.DISARM DSEi is an umbrella organisation and is not organising any of the individual protests. It exists to facilitate communication and co-ordination so that diverse groups from the Quakers to the black bloc can work together to make DISARM DSEi the biggest ever protest against the arms industry.
6.DISARM DSEi does not give press interviews as it is impossible for one person to speak on behalf of the large number of supporting groups. However we may be able to put you in touch with groups or individuals who are happy to speak to the press.