Fiesta of Life at Arms Fair

Campaign Against Arms Trade organised a procession to the gates of DSEi from the Kier Hardy Recreation Ground, Canning Town, at 10am on the 11th September to protest at this British government supported arms fair. Delegations were coming from countries, for example, in debt - Ghana, Brazil, countries with internal conflict - Sri Lanka, Morocco, countries with human rights abuses - Algeria, China and where British arms were arming both sides - Turkey and Greece, India and Pakistan, Israel and Middle Eastern countries.

I arrived early and met at the Recreation Ground other CAAT supporters and a wide range of people from CND, peace groups, people from religious groups etc. About three hundred of us joined together to form a procession and walked through Canning Town to the Excel Centre, which held the exhibition. The police were out in force and when we arrived at Excel they prevented us from getting anywhere near the Centre. The march ended at a cordoned off area which was used for the protestors to hear speeches etc and hold a vigil. Protestors were entertained during the day by a group of singers and by speakers, for example, Kurdish and Palestinian, who could talk of the effects of the arms trade. A fiesta of life against death was the unifying theme for the anti-globalisation groups and up to a thousand joined their very colourful and musical march. They were heavily policed and were stopped on a flyover leading to the exhibition centre causing considerable traffic chaos. Overall a good turnout but I would have welcomed being closer and more visible to visitors to the Centre.

Info: Manchester CAAT (0161 224 6042, mkavanagh@astor.demon.co.uk)


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