Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:25AM
The arms fair is where the UK supports tyrants and puts arms company profits above democracy and freedom." Stop the Arms Fair campaign
British anti-arms trade activists have launched a major campaign to prevent the government from holding the 8th biennial DSEi arms fair, which is known as the world’s largest fully integrated international defence exhibition. A coalition of campaigners against the DSEi arms fair identifying themselves as Stop the Arms Fair said they will do all it takes to stop the exhibition planned for September 2013. “The army and police rely on tear gas, bullets and weapons from abroad. No doubt their stock has been replenished by US and other governments over the last nine months. Stock will run low again. We ask you to take action… Shut down the arms dealers. Do not let them make it, ship it,” Stop the Arms Fair campaigners said. “The arms fair is where the UK supports tyrants and puts arms company profits above democracy and freedom,” it added. The arms fair raised major critical uproar in 2011 after it hosted delegations from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and seven other despotic regimes. Meanwhile, Campaign Against Arms Trade described the exhibit as one of the “grossest manifestations” of global weapons trade as the British government invited the most questionable regimes to promote their death trade and browse for the items they could use to suppress dissent or invade other countries. “The arms fair is one of the grossest manifestations of the global arms trade and of how our government promotes arms sales to human rights abusers and conflict zones,” the group said. “Huge profits are made by arms companies, but the costs are borne by the UK taxpayer and the millions of people whose lives are blighted by the arms trade,” it added. The campaign includes a month of action this September during which everyone is urged to take part in nationwide protests at the venue of all British-based arms companies that were involved in DSEi 2011. They have also planned a massive day of action on 10 September 2013 if they cannot prevent the arms fair from taking place. This is while Campaign Against Arms Trade has also launched a petition for an end to the arms fair to put pressure on the government to stop organizing the event. AMR/HE