- Arms dealers from around the world are getting ready to sell their deadly wares at Defence and Security Equipment International at the ExCeL centre in London. The companies exhibiting include BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Thales. They’ll be joined by over 40 Israeli arms companies, including Elbit Systems, who battle test their weapons on Palestinian people. Israeli arms companies use Palestine as a laboratory for its weapons and technologies of repression before exporting them around the world. This has included exporting arms to Myanmar, despite making promises they were not doing this. The UN described the situation in Myanmar as genocidal in 2017, after 700,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to Bangladesh.
- 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, and 12 people have been arrested, 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 a fortnight of resistance, with other groups organising specific events or days. These days have highlighted the intersections of the arms trade and the different areas and communities it impacts. On 12th September, arms dealers attending DSEI will be greeted by a migrant justice protest.
Emily Apple, Campaign Against Arms Trade’s Media Coordinator stated:
DSEI is a marketplace in death and destruction. The companies exhibiting read as a who’s who of the world’s worst arms dealers, both from the UK and across the world. Israel is an apartheid state, and it is disgusting that the UK is not only selling weapons to Israel but encouraging Israeli arms companies to sell their weapons in London.
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.
However, arms dealers will not be welcome when they arrive in London as they will be met with protesters who will ensure they have to face the reality of the consequences of their deadly trade. War and repression starts at the ExCeL centre and campaigners will be doing everything they can to stop it there.