The Three Counties Defence and Security Arms fair in Malvern in July hosted some of the world’s biggest manufacturers of weaponry, including BAE Systems and Thales. This is business at a massive cost – a human, environmental, and social disaster. But local activists were there to challenge it.
The organisers of the DPRTE arms fair made the decision to move their event to the ‘high security’ Farnborough International Ltd. so that they could go about their ghastly business unimpeded. On the 28th March, we set about making sure that those in attendance received the iciest reception Rushmoor had to offer.
If you wanted evidence of just how effective sustained protest against the arms trade can be, look no further than the campaign run by Birmingham Stop the Arms Fair. With the promise of a day of creative action à la prior protests in Cardiff and Bristol, Birmingham NEC were pressured into stating that it was ‘more appropriate for DPRTE to be hosted at a more self-contained venue.’ The fact that this arms fair cannot be held in public space anymore is testimony to the general antipathy the general public holds for this amoral trade. It is for this reason that DPRTE 2019 now finds itself behind the chainlink fence of the ‘high security’ Farnborough Exposition and Conference Centre.
In 2015, a group of eight activists were arrested while taking action against the DSEI arms fair, and later acquitted as a judge ruled they took action to prevent a greater crime. The Winter Oak reports on the CPS challenge to their acquittal- you can read a longer version of this article at winteroak.org.uk.
In late 2016, Auckland Peace Action (APA) organised a successful week of action against the New Zealand Defence Industry Association’s annual weapons expo in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Arms dealers found themselves locked out of the venue by the blockades. You can read more about their actions on the Peace Action Wellington blog, and in APA’s report.
Tom Anderson – an anti-militarist writer from Shoal Collective – interviewed Valerie Morse from APA about the group and the week of action. This interview is the second in a two part series about anti-militarism in Aotearoa. See part one here.
Journalists within Saudi often face persecution, but two Saudi nationals based in the UK have started a new media channel with the aim of “building bridges between the people of Arabia and the people around the world”. Their first post to inaugurate the channel is a report on a recent meeting on arms sales to Saudi in Bolton.
You can watch their video report of the event below, and follow them on twitter @Mngro_com.
On March 28th 2017, the DPRTE arms fair will return to the Motopoint Arena in Cardiff for the third time. Join a day of action against the arms fair on 28 March, and show the arms industry there’s no welcome for it in Wales.
In November 2016, activists in Aoteara/New Zealand were on the streets to target a weapons expo in Auckland, and arms dealers found themselves locked out of the venue by the blockades. You can read more about their actions on their blog, and in Auckland Peace Action’s report.
In January 2017, Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson – anti-militarist writers from Shoal Collective – met up with Sean and Laura from Peace Action Wellington (PAW) in Aotearoa/New Zealand and PAW explained the tactics that they have used to confront the arms trade. This interview is the first of two that will be published about anti-militarism in Aotearoa.
Activists released on bail after attempt to disarm BAE fighter jets bound for Saudi Arabia.
Daniel Woodhouse, a Methodist minister from Leeds, and Quaker activist Sam Walton have been released on bail pending charges after breaking into BAE’s Warton site. The pair were arrested at BAE Systems’ airbase in Warton, Lancashire, in the early hours of Sunday 29 January after entering BAE Systems’ Warton site in order to disarm warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia.
The aircraft are part of a multi-billion pound deal between BAE Systems and the Saudi regime, and were due to be shipped to Saudi Arabia within weeks. Their action came as a panel of UN experts warned that the devastating Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, which have caused a humanitarian catastrophe, may be part of “a broader policy of attrition against civilian infrastructure” which may “amount to war crimes.”