In contrast to previous year’s protests, campaigners from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) to activists from Brighton-based Smash ITT/EDO targeted the financial backers of the arms trade rather than the weapons convention itself, which is held at the London Docklands ExCel centre.
Tuesday saw a tour of London’s financial district to hammer on the windows and throw shoes at the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Barclays, Lloyds, British Telecom (BT) and Axa, where an attempt to storm the foyer left the main door shattered.
Thursday evening is traditionally the arms dealer’s dinner, but this year the event was moved from the usual venue, the Dorchester hotel, to the Park Lane Hilton because Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, was holding her own dinner event there.
The protest was entirely peaceful, if somewhat noisy, when private security – either from the Hilton hotel or from the arms dealers themselves – attacked the protest. Section 14 of the Public Order Act was invoked and police tried to remove the 30 or so protestors to put them in a caged area, more commonly known as a “pen”.
1024X576 footage © Jason N. Parkinson
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