‘Arms dealers feast, while Yemenis are starved’: ADS Dinner protest round-up

Arms dealers are busy people. If they’re not burning the midnight oil securing the next dirty deal, they are likely schmoozing and networking at fancy industry events and receptions, dining on three-course meals, feasting on banquets and enjoying the company of other high net worth individuals.

Highlights from our 2020 ADS Dinner demo. All images by Richard York of Rainbow…

Posted by Campaign Against Arms Trade on Tuesday, 18 February 2020
ADS Dinner Protest – image by Richard York, Rainbow Collective

And the story was no different last month, on Wednesday 22nd January, when arms dealers convened at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House hotel for the annual Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS) dinner, which brings together arms dealers, MPs and military personnel to schmooze, swill champagne, and feast on expensive food. At the same time, 14 million Yemeni people are at risk of famine, starved as a result of the Saudi-led coalition’s bombing of their country. Many of the bombs are made by the arms companies present, and have been sold with the support of the politicians in attendance.

ADS Dinner Protest – image by Richard York, Rainbow Collective

Over 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed since war in Yemen broke out in 2015, including 12,000 civilians in directly targeted attacks. The war in Yemen has caused one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The UK government is directly involved in causing this suffering; only legal action from CAAT has forced the government to review arms sales to Saudi. Meanwhile, UK-made planes are dropping UK-made bombs in Yemen, and UK arms sold to Turkey have been used in the decimation of the Kurds. UK arms sales fuel death, destruction and violence across the globe.

ADS Dinner Protest – image by Richard York, Rainbow Collective

A number of activists and came together on a bitingly cold January night to make our resistance known. As well as chants and songs, messages of solidarity were read out, reminding us of why it is imperative we insist to those dining that they cannot eat in peace, whilst being responsible for suffering and wickedness.

The people
United
Will never be
Defeated!

ADS Dinner Protest – image by Richard York, Rainbow Collective

As with previous years, ADS has managed to keep the guest list a tight-lipped secret, meaning as yet we are not clear on the exact politicians and representatives who attended, however, we were thrilled to successfully dissuade Clare Balding from being this year’s keynote speaker, to the dismay of a few attendees (see: #ClareFail on Twitter).

Other highlights of this year included the presence of young people from Woodcraft folk dressed as Grim Reapers, in-keeping with our ‘dining with death’ theme. We also riled up a few arms dealers on their cigarette breaks, who were insistent that actually they are ‘reasonable human beings’ working in ‘engineering’.

Our response?

Shame
Shame
Shame on you!

ADS Dinner Protest – image by Richard York, Rainbow Collective

Nothing much is certain in these uncertain times, but we can guarantee that so long as arms dealers dine in London annually, we’ll be right there challenging them, adding an awkward – if not bitter – taste to their banquet.

Blog post written by Siana – Training & Events Co-ordinator at Campaign Against Arms Trade

Want to see more images from our ADS dinner action last month? Check out the full album on Facebook by clicking here: ADS 2020 Album

ADS Dinner Action 2020

Highlight video of ADS dinner action outside Grosvenor House Hotel on Wednesday 22nd January 2020.Film by Richard York, Rainbow Collective

Posted by Campaign Against Arms Trade on Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Highlights video from ADS Dinner 2020 – filmed and edited by Richard York, Rainbow Collective
(You can also watch directly on Facebook by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/campaignagainstarmstrade/videos/219839609145624/ )

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