Arms fair owners push ahead with new purchase despite criticism

By staff writers
July 10, 2009

Clarion Events, organisers of the forthcoming London arms fair, have acquired yet another weapons exhibition, despite facing a strong public backlash against their decision to become involved in the arms trade.

The newly purchased exhibition is called the 'Counter Terror Expo' and was purchased from Niche Events. The 130 exhibitors at Counter Terror 2009 included a number of well-known arms companies.

Clarion Events – best known for exhibitions such as the Baby Show and the Spirit of Christmas Fair – faced outrage last year when they decided to buy up arms fairs. These included three arms fairs abandoned by Reed Elsevier following a campaign by customers and shareholders with the support of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

The backlash against Clarion has included campaigns by parents to boycott the Baby Show, along with the withdrawal of the main sponsor from the Spirit of Christmas Fair. A number of companies exhibiting at such events have called on Clarion to end their role in the arms trade.

Clarion are nonetheless attempting to increase their consumer and trade portfolio as well as ploughing on with their controversial arms exhibitions. In May, they announced the launch of Garden Expo.

“I wonder how many of the keen gardeners and garden suppliers who are likely to flock to Garden Expo realise that Clarion Events also owns arms fairs” said CAAT's Kaye Stearman.

“CAAT will be highlighting Clarion's unethical record in the lead-up to the arms fair in September and organising a peaceful protest” she added.

The London arms fair, called Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) is the largest in the world and will take place at the Excel Centre from 8th-11th September.

CAAT is calling for an end to the government's political and financial support for arms fairs, carried out through its department UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

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