ARMS DEALERS will have to pass a remembrance ceremony for victims of war and the arms trade when they arrive at the DSEI arms fair on Tuesday.
The Peace Pledge Union will read out the names of dozens of victims of war of many nationalities over the last 20 years (including Afghan civilians and British soldiers) before laying a wreath of white poppies at the entrance to the arms fair.
The remembrance ceremony will take place at the west gate to the Excel Centre in London at 8.00am on Tuesday 14 September as arms dealers and government representatives walk and drive into the DSEI arms fair.
Representatives of governments around the world, including aggressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, are expected to attend DSEI from Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 September.
The London arms fair is known euphemistically as Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI). It takes place every second September and is organised by the UK government. It has already been condemned by London mayor Sadiq Khan.
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) is one of many groups that belong to the Stop the Arms Fair coalition, whose members have already been taking nonviolent direct action over the last week to impede attempts to move military equipment into the Excel Centre as the arms fair is set up. Protests, including nonviolent direct action, are expected to continue throughout the week.
Peace Pledge Union member Amy Clark-Bryan, from St Albans, will be one of those reading out names at the ceremony. She said: “I feel moved to protest against DSEI since the arms fair has corruption at its core. I cannot just sit back while our government supports human rights-abusing regimes. By taking part in the PPU remembrance ceremony, this shifts the focus onto remembering lives cut short by war.”
Peace Pledge Union campaigns manager Symon Hill said: “Twenty years after the horrors of 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, we remember victims of war and violence by promoting peace and resisting the arms trade today. DSEI is a vicious example of everyday militarism. The people of Britain didn’t ask for this. Even the Mayor of London doesn’t want it. Amidst a global pandemic, rising poverty and the climate emergency, Boris Johnson and his mates have invited arms dealers to do deals with despots in the heart of east London.”
* More about Stop the Arms Fair here.
* Source: Peace Pledge Union