Today, 10 members of Veterans for Peace UK staged a silent protest outside the 2019 DSEI arms trade fair. The aim was to turn our backs on people attending the arms fair while wearing VFP Blue so that people attending could read the message on the back of our VFP sweatshirts and T-Shirts where the words are clearly printed – “War is not the solution to the problems we face in the 21st Century.”
After an informal briefing near Canning Town Station, we boarded a DLR train to Custom House Station. Here we formed a line at the side of the tube entrance to the Arms Fair. DSEI (Defence and Security equipment International) holds this event in London once every 2 years.
As stated on their website, DSEI is – “The world leading event that connects governments, national armed forces, industry thought leaders and the global defence & security supply chain on an unrivalled scale. With a range of valuable opportunities for networking, a platform for business, access to relevant content & live-action demonstrations, the DSEI community can innovate, share knowledge, discover & experience the latest capabilities across the Aerospace, Land, Naval, Security & Joint domains.” (Source: https://www.dsei.co.uk/).
What the website doesn’t say is that they are there to sell weapons, some which are (or at least were 2 years ago) in defiance of the Arms Trade Treaty (See: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets).
One of the aims of Veterans for Peace UK, as stated in our handbook (Section 2c.), is to work to end the arms race. Despite the interferance of DLR staff who tried to move us on (the police informed them that we were doing nothing wrong – much to our surprise!) the protest went ahead and was clearly seen by many hundreds of arms trade delegates.
We hope that our presence planted at least a few seeds in the attendees minds. Thank you to all members that made the effort to attend.
Brilliant because you were getting the message across to a range of people involved in the arms trade.
Wonderful! Thank you for this service.
USAF veteran, 1966-70.
yo …. good to see …. very proud to be a member ….. also good to see the police acting responsibly
This is important work. Thank you!
I found this action very moving. The idea of planting seeds is a good start. Interesting that the police were neutral. Was it because they feel an affinity to veterans and have to deal with violence themselves on a regular basis I wonder? I also came to political awareness during the Vietnam war and still feel the same about war and weapons. Make love not war was our slogan then and I still believe it.
As a Quaker, this is very similar to the way we protest. I thank you for making such an effective and dignified response towards an immoral and undignified presence.
Good to know that dignified folk are doing stuff.
VFP UK US only way to change the Humanaty !
War is not solution we face in 21 centary
Bob on Suzanna
What a brilliantly simple and effective idea.
Following Mike Hastie’s comment, I would like to say that the only positive thing that came out of the war crime that was the U.S. invasion of Vietnam, was that it was responsible for politicising a lot of us who are still active today in trying to stop the obscenity of war and the weapons to facilitate those wars.
I was an Army medic in Viet Nam. When I came back from Viet Nam I finally realized that the most evil piece of real estate that has ever existed in human history is the Pentagon. There was not one day during the war in Southeast Asia that the U.S. Government did not commit an atrocity. The UK peace veterans are the absolute genuine items in all of England. They possess the great truth that has great silence.
The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.
Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 1967
The US movie MASH and the TV series which lasted 11 years did everything to show the horrors and insanity of war with a touch of comedy to keep people interested, unfortunately either no one took notice, they were too stupid to understand or they had short memories.
I found reading about your silent action very moving and am so impressed . I can’t believe it won’t have had an impact on some attending.
We are co conspirators in the deaths of thousands of innocents. Murderers in other words. Men and women should refuse to be soldiers.
Love seeing you guys and girls in action. So effective, so well thought out, so professional. Because of who you are and where you’ve come from people sit up and take notice