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!
Rowland Dye discusses the protests vs. the DPRTE arms fair at the end of March. Campaigners from Stop Cardiff Arms Fair, Bristol Against Arms Trade, Cardiff Animal Rights, and others from across the country made it clear that arms dealers are not welcome in Cardiff!
Andrew Smith reports from our visit to the BAE Systems AGM.
This article originally appeared in Red Pepper.
On London’s first hot weekend of the year a group of activists chose to spend their morning outside a Land Rover showroom in Mayfair. Their goal? To highlight Land Rover’s support of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which takes place on 12th May and brings together the UK royal family with dictator King Hamad of Bahrain.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, principal architect of the war on Yemen which has devastated the country and caused what the UN has called a “humanitarian catastrophe”, has been invited to the UK. On 25th January, Lucie Kinchin from CAAT joined with representatives from other NGOs and human rights organisations to hand in an open letter to say he is not welcome here.
January 9th marked three years since imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was flogged by the Saudi Arabian state. CAAT joined English PEN, Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International at a vigil outside the Saudi embassy. We demanded Raif’s immediate release and an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
What is happening in Yemen should be plastered across every UK newspaper, every day. Saudi forces are using UK-supplied weapons to destroy vital civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, water supplies and electrical grids.
On 21st November, CAAT was proud to join Bahraini activists and supporters from around the UK to protest against the ongoing crackdown and repression in Bahrain. We were saying, free human rights campaigners, such as Nabeel Rajab, free the family of Sayed Alwadaei, stop torture in Bahrain, and stop arming Saudi Arabia which is supporting repression in Bahrain. UK arms sales to Bahrain prop up the repressive regime, and arming Saudi Arabia gives further support to the crushing of democracy in Bahrain.
A new report “Securing Profits: How the arms lobby is hijacking Europe’s defence policy“ by Bram Vranken of the Flemish peace organisation Vredesactie documents the symbiotic relationship between arms industry lobby and the European Union.
In 2016 the European Union took the unprecedented step of setting up a military research programme worth 90 million euros, the so-called Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR). This is only a first step. For the next ten years, the European Commission proposes the establishment of a European Defence Fund which would allocate more than 40 billion euros to the research, development and procurement of weapons.
These steps signify a fundamental change to the European project. Although arms companies have received EU funding before, this has always happened through the ‘back door’ by way of a security research programme. The establishment of a EU military research programme points towards an unprecedented acceleration in the militarisation of the EU.
This September, thousands of people took part in two weeks of effective action against the DSEI arms fair, but we were acting for millions more across the UK. One thing we always have to remember is that public opinion is firmly on our side and that the overwhelming majority of people across the country are appalled by events like DSEI.