What an end to the week of action – the end of a week packed with resistance and solidarity, and energies were still high. There were so many amazing actions to disrupt the set-up of the arms fair. Roads were blocked, and there were creative actions from games to drag aerobics, all saying loud and clear to the UK government: #Nohumanisillegal #FreeMovementForPeopleNotArms.
Why Borders & Migration?
At the arms fair, arms companies don’t just promote weapons of war that fuel conflict and oppression, they also show off the latest in technology that governments can use to toughen up their borders when people are forced to flee – warships to patrol the seas, surveillance equipment and security fencing.
For example, Thales, as well as being the tenth largest arms producer in the world and sponsor of ‘DSEI’ this year, provided an integrated system for border security at the Eastern Latvian border, and much of the security technology at the port of Calais.
Protests were given a boost at the start of the day by the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn:
Activists created one final ‘lock-on’ of the week, blocking the road to the DSEI site.
Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants co-hosted the event, “to defend the right of all people to seek sanctuary, or a better life, without fear of violence, detention, deportation, and racist borders”. Amongst their guests were the fabulous Dolly Trolley who re-energised and uplifted the camp with ‘drag aerobics’, which also featured handy reminders such as not talking to police when taking action to stop DSEI!
Glasgow Against the Arm Fair joined the #StopDSEI protests “with a message of solidarity from the protesters here to those fighting Serco evictions in Glasgow. Serco are at DSEI selling war services at the same time they are making refugees homeless in Glasgow. “
It was another day of fantastic workshops from incredible grassroots groups, including this one from Newham Anti Raids, on what to do if you see an immigration raid – a practical way to show solidarity with those at the sharp end of the government’s racist hostile environment policies. Check them out.
The equally incredible All African Women’s Group, a self-help group of women asylum seekers & immigrants, performed “I am here because you are there”, telling the story of Maria from Congo who is claiming asylum after being arrested protesting. Maria was sent to Yarls Wood after her claim was refused but, with the support of the group, was able to challenge this.
The Advocacy Academy – attending their first ever protest – created the most talked about session of the day, using children’s games to highlight the horror of children being murdered by the weapons being promoted inside the arms fair. The Advocacy Academy, we salute you.
To see more of the amazing things that happened at the day of action on Borders, check out the highlights from Darren Johnson’s incredible photography of the week on Flickr and Facebook, and the beautiful series of Stop DSEI week of action videos by Rainbow Collective, with music by Lowkey and others.
The week of action is over and we must send out a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made it happen – and there are many. From the hundreds of people taking part in countless creative actions, to the folks at the Peace Cafe and the many others who fed and watered us throughout the week, to the crew of welfare volunteers making sure we had suncream and water, the folks relentlessly documenting each day to make sure the world could share and celebrate your action on social media, the quite simply incredible legal team and arrestee support who worked night and day to support the rights of our protestors. To everyone – thank you for standing in solidarity to say #StopDSEI.