- People from across London gathered at vigil organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to oppose the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in London
- The vigil highlighted DSEI’s role in arming Israeli apartheid, and other repressive states around the world
- This event begins two weeks of protests against DSEI under the banner ‘Stop the Arms Fair’
Yesterday (5 September 2023), dozens of people gathered in Cundy Park, east London, for a vigil in opposition to the DSEI arms fair, which has begun setting up at the Excel Centre, in advance of its opening day on 12 September. DSEI is one of the world’s largest arms fairs, taking place every two years in Newham, London. The fair is attended by hundreds of arms companies to showcase weapons and military technology to official delegations from a range of states.
DSEI has faced sustained opposition from a variety of anti-racist and international justice groups, who say the arms fair fuels the transfer of weapons and military technology used in assaults against indigenous and other marginalised communities across the world.
Yesterday’s vigil, organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), condemned the presence of Israeli military officials and Israeli arms companies, which develop and use weapons in violence against Palestinians, before selling them as ‘battle-tested’ to other states. This year alone, Israel has killed over 200 , including in military invasions, bombing campaigns, and assassinations.
Vigil attendees joined calls for London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who has previously stated his opposition to the fair, to act to bring a halt to the event. Protesters also turned their fire on the British government, which helps organise the event through the Ministry of Defence and UK Defence and Security Exports, part of the Department for International Trade.
Ben Jamal, Director of PSC, said: “The DSEI arms fair provides a venue to Israel’s apartheid regime to buy weapons, and allows Israeli arms companies to sell their lethal weapons developed through Israel’s attacks on Palestinians to other repressive states. The arms fair must be shut down.
In addition, we call on the British government to end the arms trade between the UK and Israel through the introduction of a comprehensive military embargo, as Palestinian civil society has repeatedly demanded.”
More information on Stop The Arms Fair events: https://stopthearmsfair.org.uk/events/