Protests disrupt DSEi 2005; europe's largest arms fair

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The much criticised bi-annual DSEi (Europe's largest arms fair) ran from 13-16th September in London, sparkling protests in and around the East End docklands and other parts of the UK.

On Thursday 8th, the offices of DSEi organisers Reed Elsevier in Kidlington, Oxford, were visited by activists. See [report and pictures] [video] Also see The Lancet Medical Journal Attacks its Owners Reed Elsevier | Corporate Watch on Reed Elsevier | CAAT on Reed Elsevier [Reed Leaflet + Action] On Saturday the 10th, a Beat The Bombers - Pary for Peace took place in the streets of east London, including some questionable police tactics against protesters. On Sunday 11th, companies in the south-east of England involved in exhibiting at the arms fair were targetted with disruptive actions against their premises. On Monday evening a Candelit Procession and Prayer Vigil took place, while a NoBorder meeting was held in the convergence center. On Tuesday 13th DSEi (official website) opened its doors for business at the Excel Centre in London's Docklands. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) organised a march and a Diaper Bloc action (flyer PDF) saw kids donned in police helmets and riot shields whilst imposing a Section 60 on adults inside the designated protest zone. Meanwhile a batallion of the Clown Army toured central London visiting those involved in arms trade and DSEi. Wednesday 15th Sept included a Critical Mass bike ride, a mass action at Custom House Docklands Light Railway Station, and affinity group actions targetting the fair. The day also saw the commencement of the trial of some Corporate Pirates, following an action against Windrush Communications, promoters of the Iraq Procurement events. Throughout the day actions meant many delegate's journeys in and out the arms fair were disrupted, whilst major delays were caused to transport into the area. The Thursday evening saw noisy protests outside the DSEi arms fair luxury dinner at an hotel in central London. A critical mass bicycle protest left Eros statue to also join the demonstration outside the dinner. Report and pictures: 1 | 2 It has been reported that the security of the hotel was breached.

Full Timelines of Events: Sat 10th | Tue 13th | Wed 14th | Thu 15th

CAAT demo: pictures: [1] [2] [3] Pictures and report: [1] Audio: [Speeches mp3] Videos: [1] [2] | Baby Bloc [pics 1 | 2 ] [comment] | Rebel Clown Army detained | Wednesday Critical Mass and Demo: Pictures: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Video: 1 | 2 | Animation | Wednesday Blockades: Pictures: 1 | 2 | 3

Links: Reports of banned cluster bomb on sale at DSEi | Custom House Station: Attempt to intimidate journalist | Lower Lea Crossing: Van used to road block | Aberdeen: activists hung a banner outside an Offshore Europe oil and gas exhibition. Nottingham: arms manufacturers at east Midlands expo. Netherlands: Reed Elsevier targetted. Norwich: Weapons inspectors visit Norwich factory

Background to DSEi: "DSEi Arms Fair 2005: The global arms trade comes to London", an in depth 30 page CAAT report (pdf) | SchNEWS on DSEi | The Arms Fair is Coming to Town a Red Pepper article | Indymedia UK DSEi Protest Archives 2003 | Report from DSEI 2003

More Links: Disarm DSEi | Campaign Against The Arms Trade | CAATs Armsfairs.Com | Newham Opposition to War and Racism | RTS Party for Peace | Mobilising The Mediators | Caterpillar products to be exhibited at DSEi 2005 | War on Want's 'Caterpillar the Alternative Report' (pdf) The UK government and arms trade corruption | Parallel Markets: Corruption in the International Arms Trade | Control Arms Campaign | Anti-DSEi Graffiti | After the Fair is Over

DSEi; (pronounced 'Dicey') stands for Defence Systems and Equipment International. The arms fair takes place every two years in London's ExCel exhibition centre, and it is organised by a Richmond based company Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd.

At DSEi 2003 there were 973 exhibitors selling their deadly wares to delegates from a third of the world's countries. The 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 \xA34.5 million.

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!

This year condemnation of the arms fair has also come from Newham Borough Council and the Mayor of Newham. Events against the arms fair include two counter conferences, press briefings, direct action trainings, a Reclaim the Streets Party, candlelit vigils, marches and blockades. A delegate's dinner protest and critical mass have also just been announced for Thursday 15th evening.

Is spite of police intimidation, harassment and relentless surveillance, actions and protests have been taking place throughout the week against the largest wapon fair in the world.

Topic revision: r1 - 17 Sep 2005, WietsE
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