In July, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a Defence Breakfast at the Savile Club in Mayfair.
The event promised to help arms dealers “…expand your network of contacts and promote your business…”. It is part of a series of gatherings which let arms dealers meet with each other and their customers, often buyers from repressive regimes.
A group of activists turned up and blocked the entrances, keeping the arms dealers from their croissants and seriously disrupting the opportunity for schmoozing.
On 8th October, the Savile Club was due to host the arms dealers again. At £72 a head, the Security Breakfast Briefing promised to offer more than your average pastries. With a keynote speaker set to offer help to “identify and develop security export opportunities in key markets overseas and maximise the security legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games”, we thought we’d point out that “security” means just the opposite when you export to repressive governments like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Colombia.
So a group of us made our way to the Savile Club at 8am to interrupt proceedings (challenging the stereotype that activists don’t get out of bed early in the process!). As we got into position to effectively shut the event down, we discovered the booking had been cancelled and the event had been moved!
Apparently they hadn’t enjoyed our intervention at the Savile Club and decided to move the event to a secret location. It seems the arms dealers are on the run. The arms industry will continue to try to legitimise itself by hosting extravagant events at different institutions, but wherever it pops up, we will be there to stop it.