For immediate release
Peace Protest At The Heart Of The Arms Trade
Oxford activists infiltrate DSEi Arms Fair
Today (September 10th) at 3:30pm, a group of Oxford peace protestors have disrupted a display of military hardware at the Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) Arms Fair taking place in London Docklands’ ExCeL Centre.
The seven activists, having successfully infiltrated the fair, despite a security operation costing at least a million pounds, managed to interrupt a display by the arms company Alvis. One group climbed on top of a tank and unfurled a banner reading ‘Stop DSEi: Stop Death’ and another group locked themselves together inside an armoured personnel carrier.
“ This is an industry that talks in terms of ‘security’ and ‘defence’ whilst actually causing global insecurity and conflict” said Matthew Herbert, one of the group.
“Wars are being fuelled here and now, by the activity in this Centre. The arms industry sees it as business as usual – another day, another fast buck. The reality is that thousands of lives, many of them innocent civilians, will be brutally cut short by the equipment traded here today.”
Kathryn Tulip, another member of the protest group added: “This exhibition is nothing short of an abomination. The corporations here are mercenaries – they kill for profit. They kill with the sanction of our government. We are here to say ‘enough!’. Corporations and governments may lack the courage to work for an end to conflict, but we do not.”
“The organisers, exhibitors and delegates of this death fair need to understand that peaceful, direct protest against militarism and war will not go away. Unlike this arms fair, we are here to stay!”
For more information contact:
Claire Fauset on 07870 542162
Notes for the Editor:
1. Defence Systems & Equipment International Fair (DSEi) runs from 9th to 12th September at the ExCeL Centre, Docklands, in London.
With over 900 exhibitors, it is estimated that this year’s exhibition will be one of the world's largest ever arms exhibitions (sources: DSEi ‘Pocket Preview’- official exhibition guide; Campaign Against the Arms Trade - http://www.caat.org.uk/information/publications/other/dsei-2003-intro.php).
2. Alvis manafacture Scorpion tanks, currently deployed by the Indonesian army in Aceh, in contravention of restrictions placed on their use.
3.The British Army is also acting in a ‘sales’ role, with the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) demonstrating weapons & weapons systems from British manufacturers in a number of display each day. Serving UK soldiers from the Royal Artillery, the Armoured Corps, and the Royal Engineers and Infantry will showcase a variety of weapons. (sources: DSEi ‘Pocket Preview’ - official exhibition guide; Campaign Against the Arms Trade -
4. Amongst the ‘customers’ browsing the wares at DSEi will be representatives from India & Pakistan, the Republic of Congo, Israel, and other major areas of war, unrest & conflict. The audience will also include invited representatives from other countries condemmed for human rights abuses by Amnesty International, such as: Israel, Indonesia and Iraq. conflict (source: Campaign Against the Arms Trade - http://www.caat.org.uk/information/publications/other/dsei-2003-intro.php)
5. In 2001 trading continued at DSEi on September 11th. Whilst the rest of the world mourned and reflected the ‘defence’ industry carried on with business as usual.
6.The UK government is subsidising the 2003 DSEi Arms Fair to the tune of £400,000. Government personnel including Geoff Hoon, Secretary of State for Defence, and possibly Tony Blair himself will be attending as part of their normal government duties. (source: Hansard, 20.5.03, Col. 677/8W).