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International action against the arms
On Monday 21 March, the second anniversary of the war on Iraq, activists all over the world took part in a day of direct action against the arms trade.
Companies that profit from war, death and destruction through the unscrupulous trading of weapons were targeted.
Reed International are the organisers of the world's largest arms fair, Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI). The activist collective Onkruit glued locks and threw paint at Reed's head office in the Netherlands, arguing that “by organising this fair where not only conventional weapons but also mines and cluster bombs are traded, Reed profits from mass murder... we demand that Reed shuts down all its affairs in the military sector.”
In London, six companies who exhibit at DSEI had paint thrown and slogans sprayed on their offices.
Further action was organised in Reading where people gathered for a noise demo at Raytheon Systems offices. Raytheon's Javelin Missile Project produces anti-armour missiles that have been used to devastating effect in Iraq. Activists gathered outside Raytheon for two hours, banging drums, blowing whistles and making music in protest at the company's war profiteering.
In Brighton, around 20 activists from the Citizens Inspection Agency (CIA) attempted to inspect the weapons manufacturing facility at EDO MBM, which manufactures release mechanisms for Paveway bombs, as well as other military hardware. The team, dressed in white overalls, demanded access to the factory but police and private security obstructed their efforts.
Since the protest several antiwar activists have received summonses to attend the high court on 14 April for trespassing on EDO premises. EDO/MBM have also sought an injunction to prevent protesters from demonstrating outside the premises as well as at any of the company's employees addresses. The injunction would be the first of its kind directed at demonstrators outside of the animal rights movement.
The next DSEI fair will be held in London's docklands, between 13 and 16 September 2005. Activist groups are calling for supporters to join the protests.