Security breached at the world’s biggest arms fair as one kayak takes on the war ships

Protesters on Kayak at DSEI
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On 10 September, Canary journalists (including this author) took off their press cards and were part of a protest at Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) – the world’s largest arms fair.

Using a kayak, two people rowed into the path of the war ships and breached the massive security operation. The action was timed to coincide with, and therefore disrupt, the BAE Systems boat display.

Flares were lit on the water and at shore, and alongside chanting and banners, it was clear to the arms dealers that people were not going to sit back and let them continue their trade in death and destruction unchallenged:




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The action was taken in solidarity with Palestinian and Kurdish people who are being killed, repressed, and tortured by weapons bought and sold at DSEI. Those involved in the action are part of Manchester Palestine Action and the Kurdish Solidarity Network.

You can watch footage of the protest from video journalist Jason Parkinson here.

Smash the arms trade

DSEI takes place between 10-13 September. 34,000 people, including state and military delegations from regimes such as Israel, Turkey, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, come to London to shop for weapons.

From 2 September, people have been taking action to delay the arms fair starting. 116 people, including me and other Canary journalists (when not working as journalists), were arrested trying to blockade the trucks bringing equipment into the arms fair.

This video from Real Media explains why we took part in the protests:

Police protect the arms trade

Although no arrests were made following the boat action, all those involved were stopped and searched and had to give details to the police for suspected antisocial behaviour. The officers didn’t seem to appreciate the irony of the antisocial nature of having an arms fair taking place just metres away. And protesters have complained about heavy handed policing throughout the week.

Following the action, people on the shore were also followed by security from the ExCeL centre, who attempted to goad us with stupid comments and took photographs:









Meanwhile, police ‘intelligence’ officers, including one from counter terrorism command, followed protesters on public transport following the action:










The police may be prepared to spend a fortune and waste resources protecting the arms trade. But this action showed how a small number of people and a tiny boat can have a big impact. Just imagine what we could do with more numbers.

Smash the arms trade!

All images via The Canary

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  • Show Comments
        1. So just sit idly by and watch the world crumble to dust, hmmmm very clever, don’t protest because this poster thinks that doing nothing, ignoring suffering, death, murder and genocide are the way forward to a healthy World society, he seems to think that saying and doing nothing is more productive.

          What the protest achieved was bringing it to more people’s attention, encouraging others to stand up and fight back against the corruption and immorality of warmongers, and to make the industry realize that there are STILL people on this planet who oppose them, and to make sure Government is aware that many citizens (you know, Democratic loving ones) are opposed to their murderous love of warfare.

          Protests get noticed whether you like it or not (you noticed for a start), and the talks and negotiations are in progress here, and wherever people bring these issues up, it is the whole point of protest, and just because you believe it achieves nothing, that does not make it so.

          The Police certainly turned up and took notice (no doubt at the request of some or all involved in this arms fair), therefore one can conclude that there are those who do indeed notice, and are WORRIED at the loss of weapons sales that people like Emily Apple and the Campaign Against The Arms Trade can inflict on them, and WORRIED that their actions will indeed result in follow-up talks etc.

          What exactly does your post accomplish eh? … oh …literally nothing of any value whatsoever. What was the point of your post? To disrupt, to show your death-supporting views? Was it to ask about the effectiveness of protest, or to just take a dig at Emily Apple who’s words and actions are far more impressive than yours, and far more likely to achieve positive results than yours.

          Ironic that you question the validity and worth of these protests at the arms-fair, yet you are quite happy to post your ‘protest’ here on The Canary, where the questions you ask are more pertinent to you. I am also pretty sure that your ‘Palestinian’ comment is bordering on, if not actually racist in the current overly-PC culture.

          In addition, so “Dogs bark at the Moon, but still shines…” I hate to break this to you so publicly (particularly as the grammar is bad) , but as far as the best science on this planet can muster, no-one (except perhaps dogs themselves) can ascertain if dogs are barking at the Moon to stop it shining, hence the Moon still continues to shine.

          You clearly think that dogs bark at the Moon to have an effect on it …are you serious? Did you take your meds today?

          What is little known (because it’s obviously not true), is that dogs bark at the Moon to warn Moon Aliens that if they come to Earth they’ll bite their arses off, the fact that there are no Moon Aliens on Earth proves their continued success, and the fact that Moon Aliens don’t have arses shows that they tried once, but were driven off by the Dogs of Earth.

          Well I’m just saying…. If you can’t take it … don’t dish it out.

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