Arms trade

1 October 2021News

Fortnight of protest against UK arms fair

Before the start of the DSEI arms fair in East London on 14 September, there were several arrests as many protesters attempted to blockade the two service roads used by vehicles carrying military hardware into the ExCeL Centre.

A great variety of groups organised a great variety of actions against DSEI this year, though numbers overall were smaller than in recent times.

This year, the mostly autonomous protests were co-ordinated by a coalition called ‘Stop the Arms Fair’ (STAF…

1 October 2021News

Rebecca Elson-Watkins is a Londoner, an activist and a writer. She's probably on some sort of watchlist as a rabble-rousing peacenik.

As part of the two weeks of protest against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair held in London’s ExCeL Centre, Stop the Arms Fair organised a Festival of Resistance on 11 September. They were joined by activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR), Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Trident Ploughshares and others – there were even jointly-produced flyers available in the information tent (along with copies of PN). The XR activists I talked to all spoke…

1 December 2019News

More licences granted for military equipment to Saudi-led coalition

On 26 September, the secretary of state for international trade, Liz Truss, told parliament that the government breached a court of appeal ruling by granting further licences for military equipment to the Saudi-led coalition for use in Yemen.

This followed revelations the previous week that the government had breached the ruling on at least two occasions.

We are always being told how rigorous and robust arms export controls supposedly are, but this shows that nothing…

1 December 2019News in Brief

A major arms fair has been cancelled in New Zealand.

It was announced on 30 September that the annual Defence, Industry, and National Security Forum would not be held in 2019.

24 protesters were arrested for blockading the last two ‘defence forums’.

Auckland Peace Action said: ‘The nonviolent direct action tactics we have used have been effective at shutting this thing down for the past four years. Now the NZ Defence Industry Association has realised the…

1 December 2019News in Brief

On 23 October, the organisers of the Pride in London parade launched a wide-ranging consultation on the future of the LGBT+ event.

One issue in the online Pride survey was whether the parade should accept the participation of LGBT+ networks from ‘arms manufacturers’, ‘fossil fuel companies’ and ‘companies who profit from ecocide’.

Earlier, Pride had agreed to Extinction Rebellion’s demands that it become carbon-neutral in 2020.

1 December 2019News in Brief

The Metropolitan police more than doubled their spending on policing the protests against the DSEI arms fair in East London, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The cost this September was £2.4m, whereas it was only £978,000 the last time in 2017.

The Met spent £21m dealing with XR in October, much more than the £16m it spent in April.

By 10 October, XR itself had raised just over £2.5m in 12 months, according to the Financial Times.…

1 December 2019News in Brief

Some of the most influential professional engineering and science organisations (PESOs) in the UK have promoted fossil fuel and arms companies to schoolchildren – without discussing the ethical issues involved.

That was the finding of an investigation of 20 PESOs by Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) this October.

Separately, in November, SGR released a poll of climate-related attitudes among scientists, some working in fields connected to the climate crisis.…

1 October 2019News

Hundreds block arms fair for nine hours on'No Faith in War Day'

Lola Olufemi, one of many speakers of colour at the Conference at the Gates, gives a talk on ‘Dismantling the Institution’ on 5 September. Photo: CAAT

About 50 protesters were arrested for obstruction of the highway outside the ExCeL centre in East London on 'No Faith in War Day’, 3 September. They were among hundreds who had blockaded – for nine hours – an access road being used to ferry in exhibits for the DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) arms fair.

The…

1 October 2019News

Gwynedd Council has £100m invested in arms, Freedom of Information Act request reveals

Gwynedd council in North Wales invests over £100 million in war, I discovered through a Freedom of Information request (FoIR). Gwynedd holds shares in Chemring, producer of gas canisters used against protesters in both Hong Kong and Tahrir Square; Lockheed Martin, whose bombs killed 40 children in a bus in Yemen; Safran who make navigation and rocket systems for nuclear missiles; and 83 other ‘defence’ companies.

Through its local government pension scheme (LGPS), Gwynedd also…

1 August 2019News

Walk throws spotlight on London arms dealers

Blue plaque at BAE Systems office, London.Photo: London Caat

With DSEI looming large on the horizon, London Campaign Against Arms Trade took an interested group of people around some of the weapons producers that are likely to exhibit at the East London arms fair in September.

On 6 July, visits were paid to the London offices of BAE Systems, Boeing, G4S, Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce, as well as Buckingham Palace (due to the support the royals have provided in securing arms deals…

1 August 2019News

French arms dealers responsible for civilian deaths in Yemen

On 22 June, anti-arms trade die-ins and other nonviolent actions at Le Bourget airport resulted in 50 arrests. The activists were held for about four hours, then released after their identities had been checked and recorded (as were those of other demonstrators taking part in the actions).

The Paris Air Show serves as a showcase for arms dealers from around the world.

French arms dealers exhibiting at the show are responsible for many Yemeni civilian deaths: Nexter (…

1 August 2019News in Brief

On 1 July, three activists from Manchester Palestine Action began a three-day rooftop occupation of a Israeli-owned arms factory, the five-storey-high Elbit Ferranti building in Oldham.

The same day, activists entered Elbit-owned Instro Precision, in Sandwich, Kent, blockading both gates.

The protests marked the fifth anniversary of Israel's 'Protective Edge' assault on Gaza which killed around 1,500 Palestinian civilians.

Elbit supplies four out of five…

1 August 2019News in Brief

On 10 July, street art collective Protest Stencil withdrew from a Science Museum exhibition after finding that the top sponsor of the ‘Top Secret’ event was the arms manufacturer Raytheon.

Protest Stencil protested against the ‘artwashing’ of an arms company ‘whose missile fragments are found at massacre sites in Yemen’.

The Saudi-led coalition has used Raytheon’s Paveway II bombs against civilians in Yemen.

Paveway II fragments were found after attacks on: a…

1 June 2019News in Brief

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is waiting to hear the results of a major appeal, on its legal case against British arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

In mid-April, the court of appeal in London heard legal arguments from CAAT that an earlier judgement in the high court should be overturned. The government should be banned from allowing such sales, CAAT believes.

Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the UK government has licensed £4.7bn worth…

1 June 2019News

David Polden surveys three recent UK peace movement actions

Here are three notable peace movement street actions that took place recently.

On 18 May, the Gareloch Hortis Women’s Peace Group took to the streets of Newcastle to make the links between their anti-nuclear campaigning and other concerns held by members of the group.

Their colourful banners attracted curious passers-by who wanted to discuss climate justice, an end to austerity and poverty, and ATOS assessments and their effect on people with disabilities. The banners…