There have been 14 reported arrests during a Trident Ploughshares protest against the DSEI arms fair
TWO SCOTTISH ACTIVISTS were among those arrested during a protest by the non-violent anti-Trident campaign group Trident Ploughshares ahead of the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s biggest arms trade fair.
The arrests took place as Trident Ploughshares blocked an access road to the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands in anticipation of the DSEI, which will run from 12-15 September.
Six Trident Ploughshares activists lay in the roadway, joined with “lock-on” tubes, and prevented traffic delivering materials for the DSEI from entering the ExCel Centre for 90 minutes before they were arrested. The arrests included Edinburgh activist Margaret Bremner and Biggar activist Douglas Shaw, 67.
Bremner said of the DSEI: “The sale of arms shows that the value of money is being put before people's lives. We must campaign for dignity, respect, peace and justice in our world.”
Following the initial arrests, a representative of Trident Ploughshares told CommonSpace that a further eight arrests took place over the course of the protest.
“The sale of arms shows that the value of money is being put before people's lives. We must campaign for dignity, respect, peace and justice in our world.” Trident Ploughshares activist Margaret Bremner
The lock-on protest was one of the actions arranged by the various groups co-ordinated by the Stop the Arms Fair campaign, which aims to prevent weapons from reaching the ExCel Centre before the arms fair begins, and to highlight what Trident Ploughshares calls the “disproportionate influence” of arms manufacturers on UK Government policy through the production and maintenance of the UK’s nuclear arsenal, and the ability of companies such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Babcock, Rolls Royce and Thales to lobby the UK Government to promote their military products abroad.
Trident Ploughshares activist Angie Zelter said: “Our tax payers money is being used to arm those involved in wars and repression. Many of the arms dealers deal in illegal weapons of mass destruction and are implicated in nuclear weapons and we consider that part of an ongoing conspiracy to commit a war crime.”
“Many of the arms dealers deal in illegal weapons of mass destruction and are implicated in nuclear weapons and we consider that part of an ongoing conspiracy to commit a war crime.” Trident Ploughshares activist Angie Zelter
Further action against DSEI is planned as part of a “day of creative action”, in which migrant rights activists will reportedly form an “alternative border force” of drag artists and ex-military personnel, who will prevent vehicles from delivering weapons to the arms fair with “theatre, dance and direct action”, according to the campaign group Global Justice Now.
Kahra Wayland-Larty, a campaigner from Global Justice Now, said ahead of this planned day of creative action: “As Theresa May's government prepares to roll out the red carpet for arms dealers, there is an increasingly hostile environment for migrants and refugees on the streets of Britain.
“The missiles and drones due to be showcased in East London won’t face border controls as they go on to wreak havoc around the world. But the people who flee for their safety as a result will face violence and persecution at militarised borders as they are forced to migrate. That's why we're taking action today – to join the dots between the dealers in death at DSEI and the tens of thousands around the world facing the effects of these weapons of war.”
Picture courtesy of Defence Images
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