The week of action against the DSEI arms fair continued on Wed 6th September with some really good blockades of equipment going into the Excel Centre in London by groups working together for a NO NUCLEAR day.
At the West Gate things got off to a good start with a Trident Ploughshares group arriving and locking-on across the road at 8am before the police had even shown up. A Peace Garden was also created in the road and a wall of boxes spelling out the companies involved in nuclear weapons who exhibit at the Arms Fair. A police cutting team eventually appeared and after 2 hours and six arrests they managed to clear the road. They then had to head off to the East Gate where Yorkshire CND & Manchester CND working with Arms to Renewables had blocked that road.
It wasn’t long before another group arrived at the West Gate and with the supporters already there doing a good bit of distraction the road was blocked again. This time Trident Ploughshares and friends collaborated with London Region CND and were joined by more colourful supporters including characters from the Mad Hatters Tea Party. Then a choir turned up from Wales to sing some great anti-nuclear songs. The blockaders had a wide variety of lock-ons, a couple of them were very heavy duty and after much head scratching and three hours of grinding and chiseling a total of 14 more people were in custody.
Just before they managed to clear the road four people from Faslane Peace Camp sneaked around the back and blocked the road further down inside the security cordon, later joined by a disabled woman from Belgium who was making the links between money spent on nuclear arms while services for disabled people are axed. By then the cutting team batteries had run out so they headed to the East Gate to use hand tools on lock-ons there while they got charged up. It was another five hours before they eventually had the West Gate clear and supporters stayed at the security fence throughout to cheer the five peace campers on. With those five in custody it took us to a total of 25 arrests at West Gate for the day. Everyone was released later and has to return on 21st September, most to Thames Magistrates Court but Peace Campers to return to the Police Station. Throughout the day lots of people who live and work around Excel found out about next week’s arms fair and there was a lot of support including some folk bringing out cups of tea.