Ian Pocock has been involved with CAAT for a number of years: He is a research volunteer for CAAT as well as the local contact for London. He is also CAAT's resident costume expert, having dressed up at various protests as a baby, an elf and Jeremy Clarkson!
Through the London CAAT group he has carried out many actions against the arms trade; a particular focus being Clarion Events and their ownership of the DSEI arms fair. He has also been involved in actions on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending and at BAE Systems AGMs.
Anti-arms trade campaigner Chris Cole arrived at Westminister Magistrates Court ahead of time to defend himself against a charge of criminal damage outside the DSEI arms fair. He was accompanied by supporters who held a small demonstration outside the court.
“It is important to support Chris as he was trying to stop an arms fair that sells weapons to countries with dubious human rights records. Government support for the arms trade is disgusting and yet they support people trying to overthrow repressive regimes: they can’t have it both ways.”
Three of us had the dubious pleasure of donning masks of the three presenters of the show (Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May) but our visual presence did help us engage with the public on the issue of Clarion’s involvement in the arms trade. A number of passers-by were sympathetic to our cause and a couple were as vehemently opposed to the arms trade as London CAAT are. Continue reading “Top Gear not Top Gun”
Ian Pocock writes about London CAAT’s demonstration at the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair.
London CAAT members maintained the pressure on Clarion Events with a demonstration outside the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Kensington Olympia on Saturday 11 June. After being moved on by the over-zealous security guards, we took up a position outside the entrance to the tube station.
Ian Pocock reports on London CAAT’s protest as part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending
On Tuesday 12 April I took part in a protest London CAAT organised to coincide with the Global Day of Action on Military Spending. Ten of us turned up outside the Treasury and stayed for an hour to engage with passersby and Treasury staff. A die-in halfway through the hour attracted a lot of attention and was an eye-catching way to make our point. Inventive chants such as Welfare not Warfare, A&E not BAE and Sure Start not War Start also helped, as did the loud-hailer. Continue reading “Global Day of Action on Military Spending protest”
Ian Pocock reports on London CAAT’s protest about Lockheed Martin’s role in the UK census
As part of Count Me Out’s weekend of action against Lockheed Martin’s deplorable involvement in the census, Saturday saw London CAAT members carry out a protest at Victoria station.
The protesters engaged with the public for nigh-on two hours and found a lot of sympathy for our cause (one passerby even said we were saving the world but I wouldn’t go that far!). We handed out 400 leaflets as well as a number of stock letters that people could send to their MPs. The Guantanamo Bay-style costume attracted a lot of attention (Lockheed contracts out interrogation at Guantanamo Bay) and enabled us to inform the public why we were there. Continue reading “Disarm the Census”
A report of London CAAT’s protest at the Clarion-owned Travel Show.
Members of London Campaign Against Arms Trade (London CAAT) descended on the Destinations: Holiday and Travel Show in Earls Court on Saturday, 5 February, to protest about the organiser’s involvement in the arms trade. They are Clarion Events and they also own the notorious DSEI arms fair.
Luckily the threatening rain held off and we handed out a large number of leaflets. Some passers-by engaged with our message, particularly a Palestinian lady who expressed strong agreement with our stance. One of the speakers at the show, Ben Fogle, star of Castaway 2000 and Country Tracks, passed us on his way into the show but declined to take a leaflet. He was one of the speakers CAAT wrote to prior to the event asking them to raise the issues of Clarion’s involvement in the arms trade with them.
Two members of London CAAT entered the show to talk to stallholders, focussing on the smaller exhibitors as they were more likely to be staffed by people who could have a say on their company’s presence at the fair. They were all interested in what we had to say but, unfortunately, there were no firm commitments to talk to Clarion.
We will continue to keep the pressure on Clarion. We will be at their next show, the Baby Show, on Sunday 20 February from 11am-1pm at the ExCel Centre (nearest tube Custom House DLR).
London CAAT members descended on the Excel Centre on the weekend of the 27th February as Clarion Events, owners of the DSEI arms fair, were holding a Baby Show there. Two hours of leafleting took place on the Friday and there was a musical protest by East London Against the Arms Fair on the Saturday. But the main London CAAT action was on the Sunday, when a particularly angry baby turned up laden with missiles, guns and a globe which he proceeded to destroy with the aforementioned items. Some passers-by and even exhibitors were drawn towards this strange sight and gladly took leaflets and/or signed the petition we had. There was a preview article by the local website Wharf, which can be found here (www.wharf.co.uk/2009/02/first-it-was-nuclear-santa-now.html) and they also sent down a photographer to cover the action. Photos can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/londoncaat
A group of 8 CAAT staff members and volunteers took part in a media stunt outside the Spirit of Christmas Fair run by Clarion Events on Wednesday November 5th. Steve Tully utilised his bushy beard to play a very convincing Santa, accompanied by three mischievous elves (Anne-Marie O’Reilly, Ian Pocock and Sam Walton) who just loved playing with the missiles on hand as props!
It has been a busy time on the arms trade campaigning front for me. First up was a stall at the London Vegan Festival. The stall was well positioned in the main hall and there was a steady stream of people for most of the day. Badges were brought, T-shirts sold, campaigning postcards given away and petitions signed (so much that a blank sheet had to be photocopied so that signatures could continue to be collected!).
The main focus of the stall was BAE Systems and the halting of the Serious Fraud Office’s corruption investigation into the Al Yamamah deal with Saudi Arabia. All in all, it was good day as a receptive audience was educated about what CAAT do and a fair amount of money was collected. A second stall at the Anarchist Book Fair on October 18th was also successful and we hope to do other festivals in the future.
Then there was the Merchants of Death walking tour organised by the London CAAT group. This is the second tour London CAAT have done and this one was even more successful than the first. We over doubled the number of attendees (from 10 to 25) and people found it a useful and interesting day. I’m sure London CAAT will be organising another one for the future so keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime we are focussing on the upcoming protests outside events organised by Clarion. Anyone wanting to get involved in London CAAT can contact us on londoncaat(at)riseup*net