Arms trade campaigners target “Destinations”

Anti-arms fairs 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).

Want to know more: contact London CAAT at: londoncaat(at)riseup*net

Druid Cycles tells Excel – exhibit bikes, not arms

Druid Cycles against London arms fair - Excel Centre - January 2011
Druid Cycles against London arms fair - Excel Centre - January 2011

Druid Cycles is a bicycle repair community interest company (CIC) based in south London with a green approach, focusing on recycling and repair. They tell us why they feel so strongly about the forthcoming London arms fair, DSEI.

Our team consists mainly of people from former Soviet Block countries . Many of us did army service and some have been to Afghanistan or Chechnya.

I do not have to explain to you that those tours of duty cause long-term psychological damage; many are unable to deal with the trauma. I know many personal stories and many of us regret what has happened in the past. We were part of a machine, unable to resist and as brainwashed as many people today.

We  joined Critical Mass just three months ago, out of passion. We have known about protests in London, many years and have also taken part in them.

We have been given a free exhibition space by the show organiser at the Excel Centre and after reading messages from other mass riders, I remembered the Arms trade show.

Although we have been guests at the bike show, I thought we should also use this opportunity to educate others and express our honest opinion. We are an organisation working with bikes, cyclists and cycling organisations and we are in favor of bikes and not canons, tanks and land mines.

If we can assist again, it will be our pleasure and duty to peace.

The team of Druid Cycles

Santa and his elves protest against DSEI arms fair owners

Santa and elves assemble outside Olympia
Santa and elves assemble outside Olympia

Santa and his elves turned up at Kensington Olympia on Sunday 7 November to protest about the Spirit of Christmas being corrupted by the owners of the DSEI arms fair. The Spirit of Christmas Fair was taking place and the organisers of this event, Clarion Events, saw no contradiction between holding an exhibition for the gift trade and organising the world largest arms fair. Continue reading “Santa and his elves protest against DSEI arms fair owners”

Clarion call from “The Spirit of Christmas”

DSCN5631 by Ian MacKinnon
Clarion's ideal of "The Spirit of Christmas"

Dan Viesnik explains why CAAT supporters dress up for the Spirit of Christmas and the message they are bringing to visitors.  Photo by Ian MacKinnon.

Members of London Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), East London Against the Arms Fair (ELAAF),  the London Catholic Worker and Trident Ploughshares met vistors outside  the Spirit of Christmas Fair at London’s Olympia, on 7 November 2009.

This was the second year running they had descended upon this area of west London. Why? Was it to spread Christmas cheer among prospective visitors?
Hardly. Rather, they were there to  alert visitors to the fact that the organisers, Clarion Events, are the owners of five international arms and security fairs, including one of the world’s biggest, the euphemistically titled Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI), held biennially in London’s Docklands. DSEI 2009 took place in September, attracting both hordes of arms dealers and much publicity.
Continue reading “Clarion call from “The Spirit of Christmas””

How I found out who is funding the arms trade – and what I did about it!

Bexie21 describes her experience at Clarion Events Baby Show

This is a blog about how I found out that BabyCentre were indirectly funding the arms trade – and perhaps more importantly, what I did about it.

I was browsing BabyCentre, when i came across a thread on DC Lite. I like DC Lite, because it is full of all different types of thread, some funny, some challenging, generally though, it makes you think!!

BlueHouser had written a thread on BabyCentre’s Involvement with the Baby Show – Well that’s quite normal, I thought, a baby website, involved with a baby show, for parents and expectants, sounds good! I was going! Bought my tickets already, and was looking forward to spending my hard earned dosh on lovely things for my little sproggy! Things for him, things for me, Wahey!!

The Baby show was run by Clarion Events. Hmm. No worries there.

Clarion Events also run Arms fairs. If you’re anything like me, you thought, what the Scooby Doo is a bloody arms fair? Introducing Google, My good friend!, I found the website of CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade) and wow….

I got it: Clarion run baby shows. Clarion also run arms fairs, where weapons are sold. Weapons that maim and kill familes and children and mothers and expectants. Continue reading “How I found out who is funding the arms trade – and what I did about it!”

BABY SHOW

baby-show-1-march-2009-001baby-show-1-march-2009-009

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

DESO down, DSEI to go

The Prime Minister’s statement of 25th July that the Defence Export Services Organisation, based in Bloomsbury, will be shut by the end of the year is a great success for the peace movement in general and Campaign Against Arms Trade in particular. CAAT’s Shut DESO campaign, which included encircling the building with a human chain in October 2006, culminated with the handing in of a petition calling for DESO’s closure with over 10,000 signatures to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury.

Ouside DESO

I had signed that petition and got involved with the Shut DESO campaign because it was so obvious how wrong it was to have 500 civil servants in the heart of the government working for the interests of the arms trade. Continue reading “DESO down, DSEI to go”

Stop the Arms Trade Week

The beginning of CAAT’s designated “Stop the Arms Trade Week”, 2nd June, coincided with activities organised under “The World Can’t Wait” banner and London CAAT produced a small leaflet to tie in issues of poverty, lack of development and the more than £1118 billion spent annually on arms, which puts into pathetic perspective the amounts the G8 promises and does not deliver to the world’s poorest countries.

A few of us headed down to Archbishop’s Park by Lambeth Palace and later to the banks of the Thames, to offer our support to the idea of “waking up the G8”. Dressed in white and packing alarm clocks, bells, horns and drums, the protesters were up for it. At 2:00, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, the banks between them and even boats on the river resounded with unheeded wake-up calls.
Continue reading “Stop the Arms Trade Week”

Reed Elsevier rejects Arms Trade!

Congratulations and celebrations are in order! Intense campaigning from the CAAT team, combined with support from medical professionals, academics and high-profile authors has led to Reed Elsevier discontinuing their involvement with arms shows!

Given time and support CAAT and friends have convinced Reed Elsevier that involvement with the arms trade is immoral and, like an infuriating member of the Big Brother house, unwanted. A big well done.

Blogging the experience of gentle protest

Apologies if this info comes a bit late but here it is anyway:

Richard Smith, chief executive of United Health Europe has blogged about his experience inside the Reed Elsevier AGM and about what he calls a “gentle mornings protesting”.
Read the blog entry here

For those who are new here: Reed Elsevier is a global publishing company, which runs arms fairs on the side. We protested outside their AGM two weeks ago.

Read more about the campaign