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HUNDREDS of peace campaigners gathered outside of London’s ExCel centre today to tell arms dealers and the world’s worst human rights abusing nations that they are not welcome.
It came as UK Defence and Security Exports published the list of countries invited to Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI).
Eight of the nations are on the British government’s own list of countries of concern, such as Saudi Arabia.
Protests, co-ordinated by the Stop The Arms Fair (Staf), have been targeting the event since it began preparations last week, leading to at least 12 arrests.
Members of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) gathered outside of the event’s entrance today as representatives from arms companies and international governments arrived.
PPU campaigns manager Symon Hill read out the names of the 100 recent victims of war from around the world.
Ahead of the action, Mr Hill said: “Most people are naturally appalled by the suffering caused by wars in Ukraine, Yemen, Israel-Palestine and around the world.
“But for a few wealthy and influential businesses, the horrors of war are a marketing opportunity.
“DSEI is a vicious example of everyday militarism.
“As Britain and the world face the threats of poverty, pandemics and climate chaos, the last thing the British government should be funding is an opportunity for arms dealers and despots to do deals in a London conference centre.”
Campaign groups from the Staf coalition also held “Migrant Justice Day” talks, workshops and actions, including a die-in, to highlight the arms trade’s role in forcing people from their homes.
Emily Apple of the Campaign Against Arms Trade said that the list of countries invited to DSEI “shows this government's utter disdain for human rights around the world.”
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