Press release

For news on the day, see

3 September 2001

Anti-capitalists target arms fair

Thousands of anti-capitalist protestors are preparing to converge on London Docklands next Tuesday to disrupt Europe’s largest arms fair, the Defence Systems and Equipment international (DSEi). A "Fiesta for Life Against Death" has been called by Disarm DSEi, with active support from London Reclaim the Streets and the Wombles.

The Fiesta will be a bold celebration of humanity and creativity in the face of a trade that sees 2000 children killed, maimed or psychologically affected by its product every day.

The seriously playful mass action in the spirit of the June 18 1999 and Mayday protests will explode in a shower of pink and silver on the streets of East London. All across the country banners, costumes and puppets are in readiness and a 'critical mass' of cyclists are standing by to mobilise against the DSEi arms fair.

The hypocrisy of a government that describes protestors as violent and incoherent yet actively promotes arms sales to countries with appalling human rights records will be exposed in a joyous carnival of music and colour on the 11th. It is intended as a move away from protesting against global economic institutions, as part of a growing recognition of the wider destructive nature of capitalism.

Jo Bookchin from Disarm DSEi said:

We are calling for people to gather together to prevent the serious breach of the peace that will be committed at DSEi. It is the trade in weapons that allows exploitation and murder to continue around the world, whether it be to protect western oil interests in Colombia or to keep down anti-IMF protests in West Papua. On the 11th we are setting our sights on the arms trade, the commodity that enforces all other commodities.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Disarm DSEi is a coalition of activists from direct action and anti-capitalist groups.
  2. DSEi is being held at the newly built Excel centre on Royal Victoria Dock, E16. It runs from September 11-14.
  3. The 'critical mass' bike ride meets at 10am by Waterloo Bridge on September 11th. Critical mass is a gathering of cyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders (and anyone else on wheels) that takes back the road from motorised vehicles.
  4. According to the UN Human Development Report, in 1999 the world’s governments spent an estimated $719 billion of our money to run their military machines of which more than two-thirds ($520 billion) was spent by Europe and North America alone. This is 14 times more than is needed to eradicate the very worst ‘absolute’ poverty from the world.
  5. The arms industry employs only 0.3% of the UK’s workforce. There is a £12,500 government subsidy for each of these 90,000 jobs.
  6. Other demonstrations are being organised on the 11th and for the remainder of the fair by Campaign against Arms Trade.

Further information can be found at:

  • Disarm DSEi office: 020 7281 4621