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.