In a high-decibel protest, people from across UK came to oppose the arms dealers and their clients
Six protesters were arrested for disrupting public order at the Defense, Procurement, Research and Technology (DPRTE) fair held at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff City Centre on Wednesday. Those arrested were among nearly 50 people from London, Bristol and Cardiff gathered outside the venue, campaigning to stop the so-called ‘Cardiff Arms Fair’ from taking place.
It was an event that brought a number of arms dealers and their potential clients under one room. The protests started around 9 am with people gathering with placards, wearing masks and carrying loudspeakers. Before it was scheduled to start, the protesters attempted to prevent the organizers and participants from entering.
“We blocked the entrance to prevent the people from getting in,” said Kat Hobbes, part of the Campaign Against Arms Trade organization. After six of the protesters were arrested, the police made a human corridor to keep the campaigners from bay.
For the rest of the day, every time one of the visitors entered or exited the venue, the protesters jeered and mocked them for their participation, chanting slogans like ‘Shame on you’, ‘You have blood in your hands’ and ‘How can you sleep at night?’
Some of the participants tried to engage with the protesters outside the venue. “I think you are targeting the wrong people,” said a participant. “It’s the politicians who are to blame for all the ongoing wars. A lot of stalls that I saw were not about arms but about camps and tents for those suffering.”
Another participant, who did not want to be identified, asked the protestors, “Would you rather we not have defence?”
The campaigners received support from the Cardiff Council Deputy Leader Sue Grant. Grant called upon people to write to Motorpoint Arena to boycott the venue unless they promise not to host the fair again. While the crowd thinned towards the latter half of the day, Hobbes said that the protests had been “successful”.
“The protests this year received a much bigger participation than the last. We have caused sufficient disruption and we hope that we have embarrassed Motorpoint Arena enough to not host the fair next year. If they do, we will be back again,” said Hobbes.
In a statement released by the Arena, the spokesperson said, “A great deal of thought goes into deciding what exhibitions and trade shows can take place at the Arena and it is important that members of the public understand the true nature of the DPRTE exhibition.
“The event has been coordinated by the Welsh Government’s National Procurement Service and is concerned with the sharing of security and systems advice with a broad range of sectors, from leading construction companies and higher education providers, to data sharing organisations… It is not a weapons exhibition or ‘arms fair’.”
// Powered by Cincopa Video Hosting for Business solution.Cardiff Arms FairOn 16 March, around 50 protesters gathered outside the venue of Cardiff Arms Fair. See what happened next.Cardiff Arms Fair 2016At 9 am, nearly 50 people opposing the Cardiff Arms Fair gathered at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiffcameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3375orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 9:23:38 PMwidth 6000cameramodel NIKON D3300The police formed a human barricade after the protestors tried to block the entrance. They also arrested six people.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3375orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 9:06:12 PMwidth 6000cameramodel NIKON D3300The protest continued. Each of the participants was given an earful. cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 2763orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 8:55:08 PMwidth 4912cameramodel NIKON D3300They chanted slogans like ‘Shame on you’ and ‘How do you sleep at night’ at the sight of participantscameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3375orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 8:57:45 PMwidth 5952cameramodel NIKON D3300Every time a participant entered or exited, the sloganeering resumed.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 2835orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 9:05:26 PMwidth 5040cameramodel NIKON D3300A protester dressed as the grim reaper ‘escorted’ participants to the venue.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3375orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 9:08:47 PMwidth 6000cameramodel NIKON D3300While the crowd started thinning after midday, protest went on till 4 pm.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3696orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 9:18:38 PMwidth 4944cameramodel NIKON D3300Around 2.30 pm, participants started leaving the venue. Some of them tried to engage with the protestors.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3315orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/17/2016 1:34:36 AMwidth 5892cameramodel NIKON D3300Only a select few members of the public or media were allowed inside the venue. Our reporter from Intercardiff wasn’t given access. (Photo Courtesy: DPRTE)originaldate 1/1/0001 6:00:00 AMheight 500width 888orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 The protesters took to the media to get their message across.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3108orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/16/2016 9:23:11 PMwidth 4840cameramodel NIKON D3300Towards the end of the day, placards lay unattended at the venue.cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 3375orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 3/17/2016 1:58:19 AMwidth 6000cameramodel NIKON D3300