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Activists disrupt European arms trade conference

Last week activists in Brussels disrupted the European Defence Agency’s annual conference by pouring blood-red paint at the entrance. Around 30 people were arrested for the action.

A security guard talks to a protester who is sitting in a pool of red liquid

An activist holds a placard that reads 'Arms lobby dictates EU policy'The event brings together high-level European policy makers with representatives from the arms industry and arms company CEOs to discuss the future of European ‘defence’.

One of the European Defence Agency’s aims is to strengthen the European arms industry, including through public funding for research in arms technology.

European arms exports have steadily increased over the past decade. One reason for this is the liberalisation of European export policy. A 2009 directive substantially facilitated the trade of military equipment between EU member states.

While the Middle-East is burning, the EU arms export to the region is at its highest level ever”, says one of the activists. “The fact that European politicians are meeting with the CEOs of the arms industry behind closed doors is, therefore, unacceptable.”
Bram Vranken, Vredesactie

A longer version of this article was originally published on the ‘I Stop the Arms Trade’ website. Photos by ‘I Stop the Arms Trade’. A gallery of pictures can be seen on their Facebook page.

Two activists sit with 'I stop the arms trade.eu' t-shirts

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