Livingstone says no to London arms fair
Ken and Jen say no-go to arms bazaar
Mayoral candidates Ken Livingstone and Jenny Jones have spoken out against arms fairs in London and have pledged that if elected they would use their powers as London Mayor to stop Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) from being held in September 2013.
Both candidates were responding to questioning from London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). They were asked for their position on London hosting the DSEi arms fair and their commitment to stopping it from being held in 2013. DSEI is one of the world's largest arms fairs and has been staged at the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands at two-year intervals.
Labour Party candidate Ken Livingstone said:
"There is no place for the death trade in our city. The DSEi exists to fuel wars that are fought all over the world - so that regimes can murder innocent civilians, abuse human rights and oppress their own people. If I am elected Mayor I will use all of my available powers to ensure that the DSEi is no longer hosted in our city - so that tyrants and human rights abusers can no longer shop for weaponry in London."
Green Party candidate Jenny Jones said:
"An arms fair has no place in today's London. Selling weapons to repressive regimes is immoral and reprehensible."
Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddock has stated that the costs of policing DSEI should be borne by the organisers but has not opposed DSEI, which he says is a matter for the government at Westminster.
Other candidates, including the current Mayor and Conservative Party candidate, Boris Johnson, have yet to make statements on DSEi.
CAAT is calling on all candidates to take a stand on the issue and to let Londoners know their views. They urge concerned Londoners to ask the same questions on DSEi at hustings, phone-ins and online, so that candidates cannot hide under a pretence of ignorance or claim that it is an unimportant issue.
London CAAT activist Jessie Normaschild says:
"The arms fair, DSEI, is a shameful event. Through it the UK is continuing to arm repressive regimes against their own people. Londoners do not want to support or subsidise the arms trade. I am glad Mayoral candidates are being asked to speak out against this ugly and shocking event. I hope they will be true to their words."
Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), is one of the world's biggest arms fairs and has been held in the ExCel centre in East London's Docklands every two years since 1999. At DSEI 2011, Egypt and Bahrain, both engaged in the bloody repression of protesters, were welcomed on a guest list that included 14 authoritarian regimes and 8 countries in major conflict. The next DSEi is scheduled for September 2013.
DSEi places particular strains on residents who live close to the ExCel Centre in the London Borough of Newham. During DSEi, there is a heavy police presence, paths and footbridges are closed and several stations on the Docklands Light Railways are open only to DSEI visitors and staff.
Information on the London Mayoral and Assembly elections on 3 May, including responses from Mayoral candidates, can be found here. Individuals are encouraged to email candidates to ask for their views.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade. The arms business has a devastating effect on human rights and society and damages economic development. Large scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems. Around 75% of CAAT's income comes from individual supporters.
blog comments powered by Disqus