Arms fair opponents plan musical embassy protest
Campaigners will hold a musical protest outside the United Arab Emirates embassy as part of their war against Excel's DSEi arms fair.
The protest is directed against the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, who own the Royal Docks venue that has hosted the fair every other year since 2001.
East London Against the Arms Fair (ELAAF) will protest outside the Kensington embassy on March 25, and the UAE ambassador will be asked to receive a petition presented by two local residents.
Buddhist chanting will kick off the protest, followed by music from the Big Red Band.
An ELAAF supporter said: " We see this as another opportunity to get our message across.
"We urge the Abu Dhabi government to follow the ethical option and give up the arms fair, together with the heavy security costs and negative publicity that comes with it."
Both the exhibition centre and the fair changed hands last year. The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition company bought Excel in May, and Reed Elsevier sold DSEi to Clarion that same month after pressure from activists and its own publications.
Kaye Stearman, spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "It is shameful that DSEi is actively supported by UK Trade and Investment's Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO).
"In other words, honest people's taxes are being used to promote arms sales to some of the most abusive countries in the world. Removing the Arms Fair from the Excel calendar would be a win for everyone - except, of course, the arms industry."
Clarion has maintained that its arms fairs are "thriving events with full Government support". It has argued that DSEi only serves the legitimate global defence and security industry.