Fly Kites Not Drones: Bristol action report

On 21 March Bristol Against Arms Trade took action to support the Fly Kites Not Drones campaign. Rowland Dye reports on their action.

We were running a family-friendly craft stall and building our own kite as part of the Fly Kites Not Drones week of action. Supporters from three Bristol groups maintained a constant presence all afternoon.activists gathered around the Fly Kites Not Drones stall Continue reading “Fly Kites Not Drones: Bristol action report”

28 February: Join us in Bristol!

Bristol is home to many of the UK’s major arms companies, with over 20 arms company sites in the city alone. Bristol also played host to the local DPRTE arms fair, until activists chased it out of the city to Cardiff, where this March local activists are planning to show the arms dealers that there’s no welcome for them in Wales either.

A protester sits on top of a closed gate to UWE with a "Bristol Against the Arms Trade" poster

Join Bristol Against Arms Trade for an open planning meeting and social, and find out what’s going on locally and how you can join action against the arms trade. We’ll also be planning for action against the DPRTE arms fair in Cardiff in March, with friends from Stop the Cardiff Arms Fair.

Continue reading “28 February: Join us in Bristol!”

A distinguished address? Arms dealers speech targeted by activists

Activists in Bristol have been busy, and this October succeeded in chasing an chasing an arms fair out of their town. But it seems one arms event just wasn’t enough for Bristol’s arms dealers. The day after the protest at the arms fair in Cardiff, the CEO of QinetiQ was in Bristol speaking to students as part of the University of West England’s “Distinguished Address Series”. Luckily, Bristol Against Arms Trade were waiting, and activist Aly Vernon explains what happened next.IMG_1495

QinetiQ work mainly on military technology – they make weapons, guidance systems, military aircraft- but also branch out into surveillance & security technologies (including technologies considered for ID cards) and ‘energetic materials’ (i.e. explosives). QinetiQ make a mint supplying arms to the beheading-regime in Saudi Arabia and run the UK Drones test centre in Aberporth, West Wales, where they test the Israeli-developed drones that have killed hundreds in Gaza. Continue reading “A distinguished address? Arms dealers speech targeted by activists”

Bristol activists chase arms dealers out of town

Underneath it’s nondescript acronym, the DPRTE – or Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability exhibition – claims to be one of ‘the UK’s leading’ arms fairs. The event brings together a whole host of companies looking to find out what’s new in the world of warfare. In its own words, it ‘provides a unique promotional, educational and engagement platform’.

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Last year the DPRTE arms fair took place at the University of West of England (UWE) in Bristol. Bristol Against the Arms Trade and students from UWE were of course there to greet them. Major entrances to the campus and the conference building were picketed, traffic chaos across the north Bristol fringe ensued, exhibitors and visitors to the event were delayed, and lectures at the University were cancelled. Continue reading “Bristol activists chase arms dealers out of town”

Arms Companies Not Welcome at UWE

A protester sits on top of a closed gate to UWE with a "Bristol Against the Arms Trade" poster
Arms dealers access to the site was somewhat impeded by the protest

Companies attending Wednesday’s ‘Defence, Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportation’ event were greeted by queues trailing back along the A4174 as protesters blocked the UWE North Entrance. One gate was eventually locked and attendees forced to use other entrances.

Later, as they approached the building, attendees were accompanied to the door of UWE’s Exhibition and Conference Centre by protesters letting them know who would be attending the event; the likes of Raytheon (bombs in Iraq, missiles in Gaza), Babcock (nuclear submarines), Chemring (teargas used in the Arab Spring) and our good friends BAE Systems.
Continue reading “Arms Companies Not Welcome at UWE”