Nine peace campaigners arrested after traffic brought to a standstill at London arms fair

  • Deliveries to Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), one of the world’s largest arms fairs, were brought to a standstill on Thursday morning when peace campaigners blocked the road. The protest at the ExCeL centre took place during the No Faith in War day.
  • Several hundred people came together to oppose the London arms fair, with events including a Quaker meeting for worship, and an Anglican prayer service taking place in front of one of the gates. After several hours, and with the number of trucks waiting to go onto site building up, the police moved in, and imposed conditions on the protest. Nine people were arrested.
  • DSEI is taking place at the ExCeL centre in London between 12th-15th September. Protests began on 4th September, with the first week targeting the setting up of the arms fair.  Over 2,800 defence and security suppliers will be courting deals with representatives from human-rights abusing regimes, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar, and Israel. Campaigners argue that the deals done at DSEI lead to death and devastation across the world.
  • Stop the Arms Fair (STAF) is coordinating the fortnight of resistance, with other groups organising specific events or days. These days will highlight the intersections of the arms trade and the different areas and communities it impacts including migrant justice, arms sales to Israel, the climate crisis, policing and prisons and more.
Protesters in road blocking lorries and holding banner saying "war starts here". Police in attendance

Protesters blocking the entrance to DSEI 7/9/23

Emily Apple, Campaign Against Arms Trade’s Media Coordinator, stated:

On Thursday, people of all faiths and none put their bodies in the way of this trade in death and destruction. The religious services held at the gates were powerful testaments to people’s commitment to the principles of their faith and the need to act against this deadly trade.

Deals done at DSEI will cause misery across the world, causing global instability, and devastating people’s lives. Representatives from regimes such as Saudi Arabia, who have used UK-made weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen, will be wined and dined and encouraged to buy yet more arms.

Arms dealers do not care about peace or security. They care about perpetuating conflict, because conflict increases profits for their shareholders. Meanwhile this government has shown repeatedly that it cares more about the money made from dodgy deals with dictators than it does about the people whose lives will be ruined by the sales made at DSEI.

War starts with the deals done at the ExCeL centre. Campaigners are showing that we have the power to stop those deals before they take place

Notes for editors:

  1. See Events – Stop the Arms Fair for a full list of events announced so far.
  2. For more information about DSEI see CAAT – Defence & Security Equipment International and CAAT – 5 reasons why we should all resist DSEI
  3. For more information about UK weapons and their use in Yemen see CAAT – The war on Yemen’s civilians
  4. For more information, interviews, photos of past DSEI protests contact [email protected]
Protesters with placards praying, some kneeling, some in clerical garb, banner for Pax Christi.

Prayer service at the gates of DSEI 7/9/23

Group of people round a speaker in a park. Several holding Palestine flags. Large Palestine flag on ground in front of speaker. Banner behind speaker saying "Resist DSEI. Stop arming Israel".

PSC protest against DSEI in Cundy Park 4/9/23









Protesters sitting in road in front of queue of lorries

At the DSEI entrance 7/9/23

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

Keep in touch