Have arms dealers realised the error of their ways and sent themselves to the Tower of London in penance? Sadly it seems not.
This September’s DSEI arms fair will once again give authoritarian governments and dictatorships the opportunity to stock up on what is fast becoming the weapon of choice for repressive regimes- tear gas.
Some of the world’s leading suppliers of tear gas will be exhibiting, including British arms company Chemring, Brazil’s Condor, the US firm Non-Lethal Technologies and the joint German and South African-owned company Rheinmetall.
Tear gas made by these companies has recently been used to help crush protests in Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey and Brazil.
But finding the Gala Dinner for an arms fair in a place of worship – a Cathedral no less – probably tops the bill!
On this day, two years ago, a group of Bahraini citizens gathered at the “Pearl Roundabout” to call for democratic freedoms and equal rights for the majority Shia population. They were part of the “Arab Spring”, the wave of protests that swept the region in 2011.
The ruling regime responded with violence. Peaceful protesters were met with bullets and teargas. Some of the weapons used by the police and military came from the UK.
Kat Hobbs explains why she is running, cycling and running again on 9 September.
I’ve been a CAAT supporter for several years, and have volunteered in the CAAT offices where I saw first hand the wonderful work that CAAT’s staff are doing.
This is my fourth year fundraising for CAAT, and to add an extra challenge I’ve made a bet with Henry McLaughlin, CAAT’s fundraiser, that if we can beat last year’s fundraising total of £750 then in 2013 I will run my first ever marathon for CAAT. It’s going to be a challenge – please support CAAT and sponsor me!
On Monday 9 July, Betsy Barkas visited Farnborough International arms fair: a major event on the arms fair calendar. It takes place every other year, alternating with the DSEI arms fair in London. This year, Farnborough ran from 9-15 July.
On 26 April, Sam Walton took the stage to disrupt Vince Cable’s speech at a government arms sales conference.
We didn’t think we’d get in. The UKTI DSO Symposium is the biggest event of the year for Britain’s exporters of “defence & security” gear – so you’d think they’d have better security.
We wandered into the hotel past the police and made our way towards the entrance to the Symposium. Not having the faintest idea where anything was, we were helpfully directed to the ground floor where registration and the first networking and mingling of the day was taking place. Amazing how far a nice suit can get you.
CAAT protests continuing arms sales to Bahrain.
Since the New Year, at least ten people have been killed by security forces in Bahrain. Three were killed in custody. Others suffocated on tear gas, which has been fired into people’s homes where they can’t escape.
We have known of Bahrain’s horrific human rights abuses since a year ago when the crackdown on protest began, but the UK continues to arm the kingdom regardless. In Vince Cable’s words last week: “We do business with repressive governments and there’s no denying that.”
One year ago today, the revolution in Egypt began. Since then, those calling for democracy have been put through military trials, tortured and killed. Yet the UK is still arming the regime. Today, before joining the vigil outside the Egyptian Embassy, we delivered our petition of over 7,000 signatures to the Foreign Office, the department responsible for licensing weapons sales to the regime. Our message was clear:
On the anniversary of the beginning of the popular uprising in Egypt, we are calling for an end to the UK’s promotion of arms sales to repressive regimes.
Jamie Kelsey-Fry writes for New Internationalist on protest on the opening day of the London arms fair.
There was a moment on Tuesday during the series of actions against the UK’s biennial Defence and Security Systems International (DSEI) exhibition, taking place from 13-16 September, that was so absurd it could have come straight out of a Monty Python sketch.
Anti-arms trade activists had discovered that a gala reception for delegates would be hosted at London’s National Gallery. After a ‘die-in’ (everyone lying around in the throes of mock-death) outside the nearby offices of BAE Systems, activists made their way to the entrances to the Gallery to provide their own reception as delegates arrived. Continue reading “Action at the arms fair”