I joined the Quakers and other faith groups on Tuesday, September 3, to demonstrate against the Arms Fair taking place at the Excel Centre in East London. The Fair, otherwise known as the Defence and Security Equipment International – a ridiculous name – let’s be frank, the War Mongering Countries Exhibition – is the biggest arms trade fair in the world.
It takes place every two years and because the Government don’t want you to know about it, there’s a complete news blackout on it. Needless to say, our demonstration was not covered, the media deciding to focus on the madness going on in Parliament. The good news is, I hear that Sadiq Khan, the Major of London, is going to stop the next one… we shall see. It needs to be stopped. It’s a shame on the country and a shame on the Government which allows it to continue.
The Roots of Resistance campaign is gaining tremendous support from all over the country, not just religious groups. I was incredibly impressed at the quiet dignity of all those involved, many of whom decided they would not move from the road and made themselves liable for arrest.
We were there, a week before the event started, to try to stop the lorries getting through and, indeed, we did stop a number of lorries getting through.
The trade fair is organised by Clarion Events and the figures are staggering. In 2017, 1,500 arms companies attended from all over the world, including military delegations from 47 countries and it doesn’t take a genius to realise one of those was Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst human rights records ever, bombing their neighbours, Yemen (with our bombs) and creating one of the worst human catastrophes we’ve ever known.
But here’s the most chilling fact, £39 billion was spent on arms. This Arms Trade Fair is a disgrace and you must tell your friends and make sure everyone knows about it, because you can bet your bottom dollar, the media ain’t going to!
Image Credits: Martin Wimbush .