DSEI Protest Days 9, 10 and 11: Resistance inside and outside the fair

Protesters at DSEI arms fair holding a banner saying WAR STARTS HERE

Action continued against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair on Tuesday 14 September, with another big day of action. As delegates began to arrive, they were greeted by protests by Palestinians, Yemenis, Bahrainis and Nigerians – in anger at the death and destruction caused in those countries by the weapons sold at DSEI.

Protesters blocked the road, causing as much disruption as they could.

As the DSEI exhibition itself got underway, a protest took place inside the fair, organised by a small group of people who had been hired as workers.

Their statement says:

We call on all fellow workers in all industries who are asked to support war, climate change or anti-working class projects to rebel and do as much damage to those companies and shareholders who want to damage us.

On Wednesday, Stop the Arms Fair (STAF) unfurled a giant Palestinian flag from the roof of a building, at the same time as delegates at DSEI were watching a military boat display.

According to a statement by STAF:

We’ve taken this action to stand in solidarity with all the people of Palestine who’ve died or lost family and friends, or who live under continued oppression and violence because of the gross imbalance of the Westernised might of the Israeli occupation. The arms trade is the peak of destructive capitalism, steeped in profiteering through violence which claims to be in the name of defence.

 Later that day, investigative journalists from Declassified UK managed to get inside the arms fair.

They photographed UK government ministers rubbing shoulders with the arms dealers, and foreign delegations.

Declassified UK pointed out that a helicopter manufactured by Leonardo – which the company were exhibiting at DSEI – had allegedly been used in an attack on civilians earlier this year by the Nigerian government.

 On Thursday 16 September, a Palestine solidarity demonstration was held in Newham, the area of London where the arms fair is taking place.

As the arms fair draws to a close, STAF is calling on everyone to resist arms fairs taking place in their local areas. This resource produced by Omega Research Foundation has details of where they are:

DSEI is scheduled to return to London in 2023. It’s clear that resistance against the fair will continue too. To keep up to date with plans to resist DSEI and other arms fairs check out www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

We are very grateful to have received some financial support from Stop The Arms Fair in order to report the actions against DSEI.

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Featured image supplied to Phoenix Media Co-op, used with permission