DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) is the world’s largest arms fair. It allows arms buyers and sellers to network and make deals. It happens once every two years in East London.
At previous arms fairs, weapons have been for sale at the fair that contravene the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (landmines, booby traps, incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. These are conventions that the UK is a signatory of.
Yesterday (7 Sep) veterans of the armed forces conducted a vehicle check point (VCP) on the route into the Excel Centre during the set up of the DSEi Arms Fair, in order to search for banned weapons.
Two safety teams were deployed up the road to slow down traffic for the search team and the blocking team. Within minutes a large articulated lorry approached and was brought to a halt. Police officers obstructing the veterans were challenged by members of the search team to help in the task of searching for banned weapons.
David Collins a former Captain in the Royal Marines said “based on previous arms fairs there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that banned weapons are being transported into the Excel Centre today.”
Jason Lumley a former RAF Flight Lieutenant said “If the police won’t search these vehicles for banned weapons then at the very least they should not be obstructing us from carrying out that task.”
Ben Griffin a former soldier in the Parachute Regiment said “I was tasked to conduct VCPs and search for illegal weapons on hundreds of occasions in N Ireland, why are the police stopping us from doing that very same task here in East London?”
The veterans remained in position and were continuously prevented by the police from searching for banned weapons.
The actions to Stop The Arms Fair continue this weekend. Go to Stop the Arms Fair for more information.