Archive for the 'DSEi' Category


Nottingham Dealers at World’s Biggest Arms Fair

DSEi 2009Once every two years, in the London Docklands, the world’s biggest arms fair takes place. It’s spelt DSEi, it’s pronounced “Dicey”, and this year it took place from 8th-11th September. Joining over 1 000 arms companies from around the world were a couple of outfits from Nottinghamshire, catering to opposite ends of the small arms market.

Continue reading ‘Nottingham Dealers at World’s Biggest Arms Fair’


DSEi gets new owner

The world’s largest arms fair has a new owner. The Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi), which takes place in London every two years, has been bought by Clarion Events. DSEi’s previous owner, publisher Reed Elsevier, was shamed into selling DSEi by a long-running campaign involving activists, doctors, academics, shareholders and writers.

Campaigners have already vowed to apply the same pressure to Clarion, which has responded with much bluster about DSEi being a “legitimate” event selling “legitimate” weapons to “legitimate” regimes for “legitimate” purposes.

Clarion - everything you need for your growing baby and/or military dictatorship

Clarion - everything you need for your growing baby and/or military dictatorship

Clarion’s portfolio includes the The Baby Shows – a series of events billed “to give your baby the best start in life”. Campaigners will be highlighting the incompatibility of these family-friendly events with what is essentially a market for mechanised mass murder.


DSEi 2007 – Opposing the arms fair

A protester holding a placard at DSEi 2007A contingent of activists from Nottingham traveled to London to take part in the protests against the DSEi arms fair.

The day before the arms fair got underway, Jane’s mlitary analysts held a conference at The Mayfair hotel at which top brass advised the military-industrial complex how to prepare for future wars. Nottingham’s vegan catering campaign Veggies was there, serving food and drink to activists on the picket line. (See Indymedia for more info.)

Mark Thomas speaking at the CAAT rally against DSEi 2007Tuesday September 11th was DSEi’s opening day, and a Day Of Action against the arms fair. In the morning there was a colourful march called by Campaign Against the Arms Trade that ended in a rally outside the arms fair. The police tried to corral the protesters inside a pen but gave up when the crowd spilled out to hear speakers including comedian and activist Mark Thomas.

As usual, policing of the event was heavy-handed with a bill to the taxpayer that ran into millions. In addition to a massive police presence at the arms fair, police vehicles remained outside the RampART social centre to monitor and intimidate activists. Protesters from Nottingham were detained and searched, and one was taken into custody twice.

The Space Hijackers auction a tank at DSEi 2007Despite this, the police failed to prevent the Space Hijackers from pulling off a spectacular media stunt: The anarchist group drove a 60-ton tank up to the west entrance of the arms fair and “auctioned” it off to the highest cash bidder, satirising the unethical nature of the arms trade. Check the Space Hijackers website for the hilarious full story.

In other actions, a group of activists from Brighton tried to storm the arms fair but were arrested, a pair of London Catholic Worker activists poured fake blood all over a gangway to the arms fair, and a lady of 66 was arrested for trying to leaflet arms dealers. Thanks to the efforts of campaigners like Mark Thomas, customs officers patrolled the arms fair for the first time and two exhibitors were thrown out for marketing leg irons.

A protest banner at DSEi 2007The number of demonstrators was down on previous years, perhaps due in part to the recent rise of climate change activism, and some were frustrated that they were unable to disrupt the arms fair. However the protests got good coverage in local and national media, prompting DSEi and DESO to field spokesmen to talk down the “tanks, ships and aircraft” and talk up the “humanitarian” and “peacekeeping” applications.

For full coverage of actions against the arms fair, check Indymedia. There are also a couple of good BBC video clips here and here. (Can you spot the Nottingham activists in both?) And a great comment piece in The Guardian sums up the links between DSEi and war, corruption and human rights abuses.

DSEi will be back in 2009; the dates have been confirmed. DSEi will be back and so will we.


The end of DESO

The Prime Minister has announced his government’s intention to close the Defence Export Services Organisation – the department that helps to organise arms fairs including DSEi. DESO spends £15m of taxpayers’ money every year promoting the UK arms industry, and its closure represents a huge victory for campaigners against the arms trade. The closure of DSEi’s government backer, coming so soon after the withdrawal of its private backer leaves the arms fair’s future in doubt.


DSEi organiser intends to quit

CAAT Demonstration at Reed Elsevier's 2007 AGMPublishing corporation Reed Elsevier has announced its intention to pull out of arms fairs, including DSEi. This victory is the result of a long-running campaign involving activists, doctors, academics and shareholders. However, DSEi 2007 will go ahead as planned, and the arms fair may find a new backer.


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