Campaigners block arms fair in Bristol 5 Mar 2024

Press Release: Campaigners blockade Bristol arms fair for two days over its complicity in Israel’s genocide

“This week people showed clearly that they will not stand by and let arms dealers meet in Bristol, and they will not be complicit in genocide"

On 5th and 6th March 2024, campaigners blockaded access to the Bristol arms fair. The Future Indirect Fires and Joint Military Training & Simulation Stream conferences are  taking place at the Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol. Companies attending the conference include Elbit Systems and BAE Systems who are complicit in the genocide Israel is perpetrating against Palestinian people in Gaza.

  • Israeli arms company Elbit Systems plays a central role in arming the occupation and battle testing its weapons and technologies on Palestinians. 15% of the value of every US-made F-35 combat aircraft is made in the UK, with BAE Systems the most important of at least 79 companies involved in the programme. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) conservatively estimates that the work on the 36 F-35s exported to Israel up to 2022 is worth at least £336m to the UK arms industry.
  • The protest, called by Bristol PSC and Bristol Stop the War, and supported by many different organisations, also called on people to complain to Ashton Gate stadium, a sporting and cultural venue in Bristol. The protest aimed “to make it clear that arms manufacturers are not welcome in our city and that we stand against Elbit and BAE and with the Palestinians.”
  • Since 2015, the UK has licenced over £487m worth of arms to Israel in single issue licenses. However, this does not include open licenses where companies can export unlimited amounts of specified equipment without further reporting requirements. These figures do not include licenses issued since 7th October due to a lag in reporting arms export data.

Emily Apple, CAAT’s Media Coordinator said:

“This week people showed clearly that they will not stand by and let arms dealers meet in Bristol, and they will not be complicit in genocide. BAE Systems recently announced record profits. Genocide is good business for these merchants of death. This government has repeatedly refused to halt arms sales to Israel despite overwhelming evidence of war crimes amounting to a genocide. But while our government refuses to act, people are showing, on a daily basis, that we can, and we will, take action against this abhorrent trade.”

One Stream in Bristol, a Bristol City podcast also released a statement about the event expressing their “anger, disgust and profound concern. It continued:

“Ashton Gate Stadium has every right to attract commercial revenue from a diverse range of sectors but an event of this nature does not sit well with many in the local area and does not represent the wider values of the Bristol community.

“As members of that community it is crucial that we take a stand…We ask you to consider the humanitarian implications that arise from such events and to show that organisations who profit from war and the manufacture of lethal weapons have no place in our community stadium.”

​​​​One of the protesters, Patrick Walker from Newport, South Wales said:

“It’s grotesque that companies like Elbit Systems and BAE see the extermination of a people as a business opportunity. The UK has to stop arming Israel today or be complicit in genocide”


Notes for editors:

Link to open statement:

Photos available on request



Campaigners in a long line blocking road to Ashton Gate, with sign saying Bristol Loves Peace

POV: protesters stop vehicle entering Ashton Gate as Security tries to interveneEight protesters with a Palestine Flag block a road into Ashton Gate

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