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Clarion / ExCel told: "Arms fairs are not child's play"

dv | 07.03.2009 07:53 | Anti-militarism

Anti-arms trade campaigners protested outside The Baby Show at the ExCel centre in London's Docklands last weekend. Clarion Events, the owner of The Baby Show, plans to stage the world's largest arms trade fair, DSEi, at ExCel in September 2009, with the full blessing and support of the Ministry of Defence. The previous owner of DSEi, Reed Elsevier, was forced to sell its arms fairs after pressure from campaigners, shareholders and customers. As well as owning five international arms fairs and recently joining the Defence Manufacturers' Association, Clarion organises a diverse range of exhibitions, including, in addition to The Baby Show, the Spirit of Christmas Fair, The International Horse Show and Destinations - The Holiday and Travel Show, all of which have been met by protests in recent months. ExCel, which again plans to host DSEi, is now owned by the Emirates-based Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company (ADNEC).


[Click on above link for photos. More photos here: ]

Baby Show ExCel Centre 2009

What do babies and arms sales have in common? Surprisingly, Clarion Events who organise the Baby Show also own and organise Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi), the world's largest arms fair, scheduled for September 2009. Over the weekend anti-arms trade protesters demonstrated outside London's ExCel Centre, venue for both exhibitions. The protest was both against Clarion and the ExCel Centre for agreeing to host the event.

Saturday - Music to their ears

East London Against the Arms Fair (ELAAF) took the lead on Saturday 28 February with a musical protest. Around 30 campaigners from ELAAF, London Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Disarm DSEi, Tower Hamlets CND, Croydon CND, London Catholic Worker, Trident Ploughshares, the Big Red Band and a separate jazz combo combined to make music together. Members of the public were leafleted and serenaded with music from the Big Red Band and the jazz combo, accompanied by singing with appropriately modified lyrics by other protesters. The peaceful demonstrators received extra attention from ExCel security, who tried to move them to the walkway from the station to the far side of the forecourt. Most refused to move. The police were eventually called, but after talking to the protest co-ordinator, the armed officers departed without taking further action.

Sunday – Baby shows his arms (sales)

Sunday morning dawned even more grey and miserable than the ExCel Centre forecourt but that didn't stop activists from London CAAT showing "big baby" Clarion playing with the toys of death. Two "big babies" in nappies and babygrows bounced around in their playpen (in reality the fenced-off area which ExCel deems appropriate for demonstrators) playing with guns and a rocket. There was even a kick around with a plastic globe – the world was really their plaything. The playpen, colourfully decorated with placards and banners, attracted attention from the many visitors, who were also leafleted at the hall entrance.

Read more about Clarion on CAAT's Arms Fair campaign pages:

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