Santa and his elves turned up at Kensington Olympia on Sunday 7 November to protest about the Spirit of Christmas being corrupted by the owners of the DSEI arms fair. The Spirit of Christmas Fair was taking place and the organisers of this event, Clarion Events, saw no contradiction between holding an exhibition for the gift trade and organising the world largest arms fair.
In total, ten protesters were very vocal in informing the public of the links between Clarion and DSEI. Hundreds of leaflets were distributed and placards with slogans such as Tinsel not Tanks were displayed. A number of people were concerned by Clarion’s links to the arms trade.
The demonstration was organised by London Campaign Against Arms Trade (London CAAT) and is a continuation of their campaign to get Clarion to sell their portfolio of arms fairs. London CAAT member Ian Pocock, 35, said “I find it disgusting that Clarion Events are happy to run such family-friendly events as the Spirit of Christmas Fair while also organising the destructive, harmful DSEI arms fair”.
London CAAT will continue their campaign against Clarion into 2011, especially as the next arms fair is scheduled for 13-16 September 2011. Clarion Events bought DSEI and two other arms fairs in May 2008. They have since bought a number of other arms fairs and have joined the Defence Manufacturers Association.