Candle-lit vigil against arms fair

Peace protestors will be holding a candle-lit vigil outside ExCeL exhibition centre tonight on the eve of the arms fair to voice their opposition.

Members of East London Against the Arms Fair will be meeting at Royal Victoria DLR station at 6.30pm before marching to the exhibition centre where this year’s Defence & Security Equipment International will be held and where they will stage the vigil from 7pm to 8pm.

Bill Perry from ELAAF said the arms fair was an “evil trade” in which defence manufacturers made money from people’s suffering.

He said 80 per cent of the victims of weapons sold at the arms fair were women and children.

“We are always teaching the local chidlren not to carry knives and here we are selling these weapons to adults.

“And we are oposed to its siting in east Lodnon - its an insult to the people of the east end.”

The protestors and participants in the vigil will be given a police escort and will be accomapnied by officers at the entrance to the exhibiton centre.

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The Defence & Security Equipment International is being organised by Clarion Events Ltd and regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors interested in buying weapons and security equipment.

It also leads of disruption for reisdents living in the neighbourhood of the exhibiton centre where there is a hieghtened police presence during the four-day event.

Police have also sent out leaflets to people living in the area telling them about the arms fair and the increased police presence they may notice.

The leaflet also says: “We are aware that Tuesday 13 September is being discussed as a day of protest. This may see spontaeneous protests around the ExCeL area.

“We hope to minimise disruption for local residents and businesses during the event.”