When campaigners in Malvern in Worcestershire found out that a “Defence and Security Expo”, called “3CDSE” was coming to the Showground venue in their town in May, they knew what to do!
After a little research they discovered that it was booked as a “private event” by a group of local solicitors, and was supposedly focussed on ‘cybersecurity and counter-terrorism’. Talking to CAAT, they also found out that this “private event” was in fact hosting some of the world’s worst arms dealers! These included BAE Systems, whose Eurofighter aircraft are currently being used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and drone-maker and warship builder Thales.
Malvern Quaker Meeting teamed up with other campaigners in the Three Counties to create the “Malvern Individuals for Peace” (MIP) coalition. They held two events in Malvern town centre, asking passers-by to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” the expo. Needless to say, the overwhelming majority voted “AGAINST”!
Visitors to the street stall were given information and could sign a petition telling the event venue not to host arms dealers again.
Members of the coalition also put the word out on social media and got letters published in local papers, to make sure as many people as possible in the town knew what was happening in their Showground.
After asking around, they managed to find out which gate the delegates would be using.
Melanie Jameson from Malvern Quaker Meeting and MIP said, “We could now witness, with placards and anti-war creations, directly opposite the gate through which all the delegates departed. Simultaneously a spiritual ‘upholding’ with peace songs was taking place up on the hills overlooking the Showground.”
Local people responded enthusiastically to the campaign. Melanie said, “Our message throughout seems to have resonated with most Malvern residents we spoke to: ‘Use your technologies to heal our world’”
That would definitely have our vote!
With thanks to Melanie Jameson and Malvern Individuals for Peace for photos and story.