Police arrest 21 as Extinction Rebellion joins arms fair protest
PUBLISHED: 17:16 05 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 10 September 2019
Police have arrested 21 people as the climate activists Extinction Rebellion joined the protesters outside the ExCeL on September 4, the venue for the next Defence & Security Equipment International arms fair.
They were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and obstruction of the highway.
XR demonstrators joined the existing activists who camped out at the site on Monday, September 2.
They used a signature Extinction Rebellion boat to block access to the exhibition centre in Royal Albert Way.
A week of disruption is planned in the run-up to and during DSEI, which is set to take place from Tuesday, September 10 to 13.
XR said that war creates devastating environmental damage and that the government should be creating an emergency budget to bring down emissions and increase biodiversity, instead of helping facilitate one of the world's largest arms fairs.
Extinction Rebellion's Liam Geary Baulch said: "We envision a world where people have a right to a future and a right to live in peace with a home, food, and water - all things that are put at risk by fuelling conflict and the climate and ecological emergency around the world.
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"When the food and water runs out, we can expect more conflict and a much bigger refugee crisis. We need to transfer jobs from the arms industry into the sustainable economy now, we need an emergency budget to help do that, and we need to stop fuelling conflict around the world which is only increasing these problems.
"The UK has to own up to its part in creating these global problems, take real leadership in reducing warming and conflict, and create deliberative democracies which can solve this emergency."
West Ham MP Lyn Brown said: "The DSEI arms fair causes a massive inconvenience for local residents every two years, from the added traffic and security it always requires.
"Added to the inconvenience to local people, the arms fair also piles an unwanted and unneeded burden on our local public services, like our police, ambulances, hospitals and transport, all already massively overstretched due to nine long years of Tory austerity cuts.
"Nobody wants to welcome war criminals to their community. Despite asking questions in Parliament for months, the Government haven't been able to reassure me that we won't be seeking to sell weapons to regimes that abuse human rights or are killing innocents in places like Yemen.
"I'm proud stand with the Newham residents who are raising their voices against the arms fair this year, and I hope that together we can stop the DSEI from returning to our borough in 2021."
While there is some disagreement, there is a large body of evidence that suggests climate change will lead to more conflict.
Academics worldwide have posited that, with a warming climate leading to more extreme weather and causing more failed harvests and droughts, countries will be more likely to fight for resources.
The organisers of DSEI have previously said that the arms trade is productive part of the UK's economy. It has also emphasised that it only serves the legitimate arms industry and supports the right to protest.
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