Activists in Paris kicked off a week of action against the Eurosatory arms fair by covering an armoured vehicle in paint. People from Belgium, Germany and England have joined French activists to take action against one of the world’s biggest arms fairs that takes place every two years.
Actions will continue throughout the week. Follow #EurosatoryKills for updates.
Want to target your local Eurosatory exhibitor? Find your nearest arms company and organise a solidarity action.
Hannah travelled from London to Paris and had an unusual day outside the arms fair:
I arrived to find myself alone outside the conference centre. For a moment I thought I’d turn round and head back to the city. Then I spotted someone who had also got the time of the protest wrong. She turned out to be an elder of the Paris branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
With my retro banner and Giselle’s knack for starting conversations, we decided to join forces (as it were) and stood together outside the exit as (I think) over a thousand arms dealers, armed forces, buyers, sellers, lobbyists, security and police filtered by.
- A long conversation with a young guy waiting for his father. He had been promised the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but first had to attend this arms fair for his Dad’s work. He refused, and spent the time with us outside. He’s about 16, and doesn’t want to do military service.
- The frankly bizarre number of people quietly indicating assent, through a sly thumbs up, a couple of mumbled “courage”s, and a large number of people stopping to tell us so. This reminded me of the number of people who hate their jobs in this trade, and the huge numbers of civilian workers needed to keep fairs like this going (caterers, event administrators…). A woman contracted just this week to leaflet for a small company had no idea it was for a major arms fair before she arrived.
- Trying to spot people from the UK and engage them in conversation. One person quoted Edmund Burke as his justification for making his living selling weapons: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. Yep, that’s why I’m here, I said.
We left together later and joined French activists and others from around Europe to meet the Eurosatory attendees as they arrived for the arms fair’s offical dinner.
We should never let this trade – which not only profits from war, but incentivises it – have “business as usual”, or think it is unseen.”
Join the movement to #StopDSEI
The DSEI arms fair is due to return to London in September 2017. Over 500 people have already signed the pledge to take action to try and stop it. What will you do to #StopDSEI?