10 September 2017
Members of the Green Party from as far afield as Scotland and Ireland joined hundreds of peace activists outside the XL centre in London this week in a huge effort to stop preparations for the world’s biggest arms fair, DSEI. In fearfully Orwellian style DSEI stands for Defence and Security Industry and on display at the ‘Fair’ are instruments of torture, weapons advertised as ‘battle tested’ in Gaza, the latest range of gadgets for use in civilian oppression and missiles like those landing on hospitals and schools in wars across the globe. The weeklong protest is organised by CAAT – the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and brings together dozens of pressure groups, which recognise the horror of commercial gain through the scourge of war. On Tuesday the theme for the day was ‘No Faith in War’ and brave Quakers abseiled from a bridge above the road leading to DSEI and held up lorries and their deadly loads for several hours while church choirs sang hymns of peace. On Wednesday the focus was on Arms to Renewables with an excellent speech from Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley. Later players from a theatre piece on the links between climate change and war spilled onto the road using their props of chiffon tidal waves and cardboard wind turbines to hold up traffic long enough to allow activists to lock themselves onto arms bearing lorries. On Thursday the members of Veterans for Peace marched onto the scene and demanded the police help them in searching incoming vehicles for banned weapons because every time arms that contravene international agreements and British law are identified at DSEI. The police unfortunately declined this valuable task but more hold-ups and ‘lock-on’s were nevertheless achieved and members of ‘Food not Bombs’ served a delicious picnic on the road to DSEI. The ‘fair’ itself opens on Tuesday 12th September and protest will continue until arms dealers have packed up their wicked wares and gone.
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