Bloody-handed regimes invited to festival of violence by hypocritical Tories
Hundreds of activists blockaded the venue for one of the world’s biggest arms fairs in London at the weekend.
The DSEI arms bazaar at the Excel Centre in east London, which opens today, will offer weapons of destruction to some of the world’s bloodiest regimes.
As revealed in the Morning Star, customers invited by the British government include Saudi Arabia — which is using British-made aircraft and bombs in its bombardment that has wrecked Yemen and killed thousands of civilians — as well as Bahrain, Egypt and Turkey, all of whose governments have led massive internal crackdowns against political opponents in recent years.
A Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) spokesman said yesterday: “Gates to the arms fair were once again blocked for several hours and we were told some stands are more than two days behind with set-up.
“The weapons sold at DSEI fuel the death, destruction and injustice perpetrated by militaries, police forces and at borders around the world. This is where war, repression and injustice start. But this is also where we can intervene to stop it.
“If the government cares for human rights and democracy, then it’s time to end the arms sales and stop DSEI.”
The government has also been accused of double standards for participating in arms control talks for the Arms Trade Treaty in Geneva, Switzerland, while at the same time hosting the world’s biggest arms fair.
Oxfam’s Sally Copley said: “Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, suffering from a borderline famine and hit by the world’s largest cholera epidemic which shows no sign of abating. Yet the deaths, the destruction and the misery seem to count for nothing.
“Since the war began not one licence to export arms to Saudi Arabia has been rejected by the government.
“When you are witness to the suffering in Yemen it is hard to understand or excuse how the UK government talks the talk on arms control while it walks the walk of arms sales.
“It helped push through and signed up to an international arms control law, the Arms Trade Treaty, that it intended to stop arms going to repressive regimes but it continues to sell arms to some of the world’s worst human rights abusers.”