Rowland Dye discusses the protests vs. the DPRTE arms fair at the end of March. Campaigners from Stop Cardiff Arms Fair, Bristol Against Arms Trade, Cardiff Animal Rights, and others from across the country made it clear that arms dealers are not welcome in Cardiff!
Rowland Dye, Bristol Against Arms Trade
South Wales Constabulary must be disappointed to find the campaign against the DPRTE Arms Fair simply isn’t simply going away. If anything it seems to be increasing year on year with more people, imaginative banners and stunts, and more energy. From our side of the Severn there was probably the biggest turn-out of protesters from Bristol this year. The cops added to the excitement by pulling over one of the vehicles, in rush-hour traffic, in the middle of Cardiff announcing “We see you’re from England…….!” So rich with comedic possibilities, but content to think it was all part of a “know-your-rights” training workshop!
We’d only just arrived and six protesters were arrested from the back entrance of the building. Clearly more help for the campaign ensuring “Arrests at Arms Fair” headlines all across the local media!
The rest of the day was good-natured but principled protesting at the front of the Motorpoint Centre, a wide cross-section of campaigners from across South Wales and the West of England, everyone fuelled up by plentiful snacks and refreshments from the Food-Not-Bombs stall.
Being a town-centre location, it seems impossible to engineer any separation between protesters and the delegates arriving and leaving the fair. So it’s quite surreal to be only inches apart and even mingling on the pavement. Most try looking through the protesters, but some will actually stop to engage protesters in un-convincing justification for what they do.
Some of us protesters remember this very same fair being chased out of Bristol just a few years ago. We’re confident these annual protests are helping throw a spot-light on this disgusting business and eventually we’ll be celebrating its departure from Cardiff too!