Campaigners from Cardiff come together to protest against this year’s arms fair
Anti-war campaigners are planning to protest against the arms fair to be held at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on 16 March.
Activists from the group Stop the Cardiff Arms Fair have called upon people to flood the venue with phone calls and implore them to not host the event. On the day of the fair, the group also plans to picket outside the Arena.
A spokesperson for Stop the Cardiff Arms Fair said, “Organisers denied it’s an arms fair [but] clearly it is. Protests in Bristol meant Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability (DPRTE) could no longer do their dirty business there. Let’s make sure they never want to come back to Cardiff. It’s horrific they want to do this in our city.”
According to the website of the exhibition, DPRTE, organisers of the Cardiff event, have described the fair as as “UK’s premier defense procurement event”. It is the second year the DPRTE will be holding the event in Cardiff. On both occasions, Cardiff was chosen as a venue after they were forced out of Bristol.
Andrew Smith, member of the non-profit and non-governmental group Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said, “Events like DPRTE provide a forum for arms companies to promote their wares and network. The conference has sessions on military exports and a presentation from UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), a body that exists solely to promote arms exports.”
On its website, more than 80 firms will showcase products and services directly to over 1,000 key decision-makers from the defence procurement community in order to gain more opportunities for private sector organisations.
Rachel Melly, from CAAT, said, “It is despicable that the DPRTE arms fair is taking place. The UK should not be promoting these companies or giving them a platform to sell their wares. Several of the exhibiting companies have sold arms to some of the most repressive regimes in the world.”
University students in the UK are also increasingly getting involved in the protest against the arms fair in recent years.
Melly said, “There is a growing movement of students who oppose the arms trade. Like many other people, they are not happy about an arms fair taking place in their community and will be taking part in protests to oppose it.
“Students across the country are also campaigning to end universities’ support for arms companies, including pushing universities to divest from arms companies and end research ties with them.”