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Peace campaigners have the power to stop arms deals, CAAT says following arrest of protesters outside DSEI

PEACE campaigners have the power to stop arms deals from taking place, an anti-arms group said today after nine activists were arrested this week during a silent protest outside DSEI.

Yesterday, hundreds of Quakers and other protesters blocked roads outside the arms fair in east London, which will see thousands of defence and security suppliers court deals with international state representatives next week.

Nine people were arrested in the action which included prayer services.

Lorries attempting to enter the building were left waiting outside the Excel building for several hours.

One protester, from Littlehampton, said: “If there was half as much investment in non-violent solutions, we wouldn’t need armaments at all.”

Another, from Hastings, said: “I’ve seen the receiving end of British weapons in the arms trade in Iraqi Kurdistan and the West Bank and it isn’t pretty.”

Campaign Against Arms Trade’s Emily Apple said that people of all faiths and none put their bodies in the way of “this trade of destruction” during the protest.

She said: “Deals done at DSEI will cause misery across the world, causing global instability, and devastating people’s lives.

“Representatives from regimes such as Saudi Arabia, who have used UK-made weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen, will be wined and dined and encouraged to buy yet more arms.”

Ms Apple said arms dealers only care about perpetuating conflicts as it “increases profits for their shareholders.

“Meanwhile, this government has shown repeatedly that it cares more about the money made from dodgy deals with dictators than it does about the people whose lives will be ruined by the sales made at DSEI,” she said.

“War starts with the deals done at the Excel centre. Campaigners are showing that we have the power to stop those deals before they take place.”

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