Every two years, the DSEI arms fair takes place at the Excel centre in London docklands and they are greeted by a massive coalition of civil society, determined to oppose them.
DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) is the world’s largest arms fair, where arms buyers and sellers get together to network and make deals, profiting from the death and suffering their weapons cause worldwide.
The arms fair has been taking place at the docklands since 2001, opening it’s doors there for the first time the same day as the 9/11 atrocities. DSEI has always been met by opposition and resistance. By 2011, a network of groups and individuals called Stop The Arms Fair had emerged, united by their campaigns to put a stop to arms fairs in the UK.
Every two years, the arms dealers are forced to negotiate actions designed to make them reconsider their line of work and to prevent them from being able to set up their exhibition. Stop The Arms Fair have just published the schedule for this year’s blockade, 4th to 11th September 2017 and it looks more action packed than ever, with multiple actions planned for each day.
Last time round in 2015, hundreds of people blocked the entrance for six consecutive days and nights, preventing the arms fair from setting up properly. Occupy the Arms Fair activists and others livestreamed from a small camp throughout the week of action and conducted a night raid on the exhibition centre. A hardcore few remained for the duration of the exhibition. Some dressed as the grim reaper to greet the arms dealers as they arrived. They were compelled to step over bodybags as they avoided probing questions from activists, all livestreamed – broadcast live to the internet.
There is a camp planned again this year, so remember to bring a tent!
Activists all over the country have been holding training sessions, planning meetings and running workshops, film screenings and other events to prepare for this year’s resistance. If you haven’t already, get trained up!
Let’s make 2017 the year we finally shut this murderous industry down and usher in a lasting era of peace and enlightenment!
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