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Arms campaigners go ballistic at Waterloo station

ANTI-WAR campaigners paraded a mock missile through Waterloo station in London today to protest against the Farnborough air show — a biennial display of weapons on sale to despotic regimes around the world.

Waterloo station is a departure point for delegations to the air show in Hampshire, where they would see warplanes, missiles and other weapons of destruction displayed by British and overseas arms manufacturers.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is mounting protests against the week-long arms fair.

The group’s protests began with activists carrying a four-metre-long missile through Waterloo, along with a scale model of a Typhoon warplane.

Sarah Waldron of CAAT said: “These represented the warplanes and missiles that are actually on display at Farnborough, such as BAE Systems’s Eurofighter Typhoon and the missiles and bombs it carries — weapons which are currently being used by Saudi Arabia in its bombing of Yemen.

“Despite evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and the terrible toll the war has had on civilians, the UK government is hoping to secure further deals with Saudi Arabia for these very weapons.”

At the air show, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled a model of a new RAF fighter jet that is meant to replace the Typhoon, saying that the government would pump £2 billion into the project.

It is likely to be much more costly, however, with a National Audit Office report showing that the government spent twice as much on the development of the Typhoon as originally budgeted.

The Farnborough air show bills itself as a “family friendly” event. But the first five days of the event are devoted to displays of weapons of war and are open to military delegations interested in buying weapons. Only the final two days of the event are open to the public.

Protests will take place throughout the week.

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