There was a good turnout, in spite of the freezing weather. Leaflets handed out, drums banged, speeches made. and banners displayed. Further, to highlight their concerns, some folks held a "die-in" to help illustrate their worries for the violence attributed to the arms trade and its consequences.
The police turned out [as you would expect, to make sure no-one got into any trouble]. There was also a police presence outside of the Armed Forces Recruitment Offices Nr. the Victoria Centre in Milton Street. Well this demo was about related matters to when, the last time, it got painted and decorated!
The new super-improved and shiny new CCTV van was also there, monitoring the situation, [and the Xmas shoppers]. I was amused that those demonstrating, then arranged themselves around the vehicle and used it as a 'backdrop' for their actions :-) The camera devices on the extending pole, were then trained down at such an acute angle to see those below, that I imagine the operator inside would have ended up with 'plan views' of the tops of people heads and hats. Not so good for the digital recording and data-basing and face recognition systems etc. A little while latter, they moved it. There was also the usual police EG surveillance operation, additionally with PC1818 a South Yorkshire officer attached to the FIT teams, who hung about in Nottingham having also photographed the E-on protest in Nottingham yesterday.
1. Britain is now the world’s largest arms exporter; responsible for one third of the world’s arms exports. According to UN figures, Britain exports hundreds of thousands of guns every year. Last year, Nottingham-based arms company Heckler & Koch exported £3 million worth of guns.
2. These weapons are sold to repressive regimes and warzones, fuelling conflict around the world. H&K guns have been used by child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, by the Georgian army in South Ossetia, by the Janjaweed militia in Darfur and by mercenaries in Iraq.
3. Millions of people are forced to flee their homes to escape these wars. According to the UN, "Armed conflict is now the driving force behind most refugee flows... Refugee movements are no longer side effects of conflict, but in many cases are central to the objectives and tactics of war."
4. Ten of thousands of refugees who flee to the UK are refused entry or locked up and deported to countries that the UK Foreign Office considers dangerous, including Iraq, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (all countries in which H&K guns have been used).
In short, the policies of successive UK governments have on one hand contributed to suffering on a global scale, and on the other hand refused to take responsibility for the consequences. It is time to expose and confront this vicious circle.
Shut down Heckler & Koch! Freedom of movement and the right to remain for all! No guns, no borders!
To help promote the demo you can download and distribute flyers and posters:
Shut Down H&K: http://www.shutdownhk.org.uk
One would have thought that a city infamous for its gun crime would be a poor location for a warehouse full of guns. Not according to H&K, who do great business equipping war-mongers on any side.
Proud owners of H&K weaponry include the brutal militias of Darfur - the Janjaweed. Funnily enough, despite the outcry against the massacres in Darfur, they obviously weren't quite bad enough to stop selling weapons to the perpetrators. Even a recent arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against a senior Sudanese politician accused of selling H&K weapons to the Janjaweed hasn't seemed to stem the flow of H&K guns to a militia accused by everyone including the US of committing genocide. (H&K guns also fill the arsenals of the US Dept of Homeland Security, US Navy Seals & the FBI amongst others).
H&K have a 'strategic partnership' with the world's largest mercenary company Blackwater. H&K supply the guns to the Iraqi and Afghan puppet governments, and Blackwater provide the training.
There was a plan for H&K to produce special edition 'Blackwater' weapons - complete with the Blackwater logo on them. However, after Blackwater made the headlines for killing 17 innocent Iraqis (not the first time that Blackwater have killed innocent Iraqis, but the first time that it made the news in a major way), the plan was shelved.
Interestingly, local media also came under pressure; Trent FM, who had shown some enthusiasm about reporting these demos, received a word in their ear from both H&K's press office as well as the police, warning hacks that it would be 'irresponsible' to publish the fact that H&K has a warehouse full of weapons in Nottingham, as it may prompt criminals to try and steal them.
In response the campaigners pointed out to the radio station that H&K's address was published at Company House, as well as in several business directories. About the radio station being leaned on, the campaigners said that "If the security policy of H&K and Notts police relies on no-one finding out the company's location, then clearly it is they who are irresponsible, not our campaign and not the media. A large warehouse stocked with high-power assault rifles and submachine guns with inadequate security to prevent a robbery is clearly a significant danger to the public, and publicising such a danger is very much in the public interest."
The H&K warehouse, located at Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, is next to the 'Trent Vineyard', an evangelist church that held the funeral of Danielle Beccan, a 14 year old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting. At her funeral service the then mayor of Nottingham said, "Guns have no place at all in our community - not in Nottingham, not in my city nor any other city in Britain."
One campaigner said: "The arms trade relies on secrecy. Most people abhor the idea of factories and warehouse making and selling weapons around the world, and arms companies know this. By lifting the lid on the business, anti-arms protesters can make a put the pressure on the government/corporate killing machine to stop killing for profit." [schNews]
This lot still remain shy of folks knowing of their activities. In my opinion, lights need to be shone into dark corners. I believe it one of the reason why the protest has been bought to the public gaze of the Market Square. The campaign has complained at the lack of press coverage it has attracted, while remaining at the Lenton Lane Industrial Estate.
Shut Down Heckler & Koch Campaign
Demos continue at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham
Further Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham : Pix 1
Further Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham : Pix 2
Another Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
Surveillance at Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham
Protest at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham : Pictures
'Die-In' at Nottingham University to protest at un-ethical investments
Nottingham University Student Die-In :: to protest at un-ethical investments
There is an obvious link between the arms trade and refugees. According to the UN Refugee Agency, “armed conflict is now the driving force behind most refugee flows,” and the most devastating weapons are small arms such as rifles and machine guns.
..... so, earlier, on asylum issues:
No Borders Nottingham
Protest against Deportations to Northern Iraq (Kurdistan)
Nottingham Police Station :: Forced Deportations Continue
Occupation at Labour Party Offices for East Midlands
Anti-Deportation Protest at Nottingham Magistrates Court
No Borders Nottingham 'National Day of Action on Asylum Rights'
Nottingham demo against deportations to Congo
Situation in the Congo is worsening as deportations continue
Nottingham Congolese Community demonstrated against continued deportations
Nottingham Market Sq Demo against deportation flights to Congo
Zimbabwean Asylum Rights Demo @ Speakers Corner, Nottingham
Demos to support Amdani Juma, activist, at risk of deportation
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [No: 014345]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"