Anti-arms trade campaigners have launched a media blitz in East London to protest against the forthcoming arms fair at the ExCel Centre.The Newham Adversary is a one-off special edition newspaper which highlights the unethical nature of the arms trade and the horrors of conflict.
Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi), scheduled from 13-16 September, is one of the world's largest arms fairs. It has been staged in London's docklands in alternate years since 1999. DSEi is organised by Clarion Events and by UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), the government's arms sales promotion unit.
This year, the timing is especially poignant, says Campaign against Arms Trade, coming as it does on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attack on the twin towers and in the wake of the Arab Spring, during which UK weaponry is still being used against democracy protesters.
On 8 September, free copies of the Newham Adversary will be handed out in the docklands communities whose daily lives will be disrupted before, during and after the controversial arms fair. Over four days, 20,000 arms dealers will descend on the ExCel Centre. DLR stops, including Custom House, will be closed to non-event visitors and staff, local roads and a footbridge will be blocked, and there will be a heavy police presence in the area.
Items in the eight-page Newham Adversary include details of UK banks links to the cluster bomb industry and arms company beneficiaries of the Libya war. The issue also contains an Open Letter to the local community, in English and four other languages, which explains the adverse effect on the local area and outlines the day of action against the arms fair on 13 September.
Chris Browne,editor of the Newham Adversary said: "Writing, editing and publishing Newham Adversary allows us to get a serious anti-arms fair message out to the residents of the areas surrounding the arms fair. We know most local people don't want DSEi at ExCel - they value their community too much to see it used as a shop-window by this squalid bunch of gunrunners. DSEi should get out of the docklands and out of London - in fact it should just close down."