Posts Tagged ‘Excel Centre’

DSEI Arms fair protest 2017

Sunday, September 5th, 2021

Police surround protesters who are stopping a lorry going into the arms fair

Tomorrow, Monday 6th September 2021 sees the beginning of the protests against DSEI 2021 Arms Fair taking place at the Excel Centre in East London. Protests there will continue until 17th September, the final day of the arms fair.

No Faith In War’ protesters block the road by abseiling down from a bridge

I hope to be able to be there and photograph some of the protests, as I have in several previous years. The more dedicated activists will be staying at a protest camp close to the fair, but I will only visit the site for a few hours, making my way across London and then back home – a journey of roughly and hour and a half each way.

Women hold the London WILPF banner in front of a line of coffins on the blocked road

The Arms Fair is certainly one of the largest in the world, and attracts both buyers and sellers from many countries including some of the world’s most repressive regimes. Although the government claims to restrict the sale of British made weapons and equipment to some of the more reprehensible dictators, in practice these controls are ineffectual and somehow don’t seem to apply to some of our largest business clients.

These limited restrictions of course do not apply to those foreign nations and companies who have many stalls inside the fair and can do whatever business they like. In recent years this has been shown to include selling weapons that are outlawed by international agreements.

The protests are organised by the Campaign Against Arms Trade, CAAT, though many other groups also take part. You can find details of the events on their web site. The big day of action, Tank the Arms Fair, is on Tues 14th September, the first day of the fair.

The pictures here come from 2017, the last time I was able to photograph some of the protests. The fair – which the London Mayor and the local council have clearly stated their opposition – takes place every two years. I missed the 2019 protests as I was in Cumbria.

You will find much more about the protests and many more pictures from 2017 on My London Diary at these links:

Wreath for victims of the arms trade
#Arming The World
DSEI East Gate blocked
Festival of Resistance – DSEI West Gate
DSEI Festival Morning at the East Gate
Protest picnic & checkpoint at DSEI
Protesters block DSEI arms fair entrances
No Faith in War DSEI Arms Fair protest


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Human Rights, NHS and Gold Mining

Saturday, June 5th, 2021

Thursday 5th June 2014 was the day of the AGM of G4S, a company deeply involved in the privatisation of prisons, policing, education and other public services and in human rights abuses both in the UK and in Palestine where it helps to run the Israeli prison system. So unsurprisingly a number of groups had come to protest outside the Excel Centre at Royal Victoria Dock in Newham where the AGM was taking place, and there were also a number of people who had bought shares so they had a right to attend the AGM and also to ask questions, challenging the company’s human rights record.

Among the various groups who had come to protest were the Boycott Israel Network, Boycott Workfare, Campaign to Close Campsfield, Corporate Watch, Friends of Al Aqsa, Inminds.com, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Right to Remain, War on Want, Right to Remain and Global Women’s Strike, though as the protest was on a working day, the numbers representing each group were fairly low.

The protesters sang and handed out leaflets to shareholders attending the meeting, giving details of some of the human rights abuses that G4S has been responsible for or is complicit in. There were also apparently some nasty scenes when shareholders were ejected forcibly from the AGM for insisting on asking awkward questions, but the press was not allowed to photograph inside the venue.

I joined a march in Tower Hamlets, which includes some of the most deprived areas of England, where medical staff and supporters had organised a ‘Nye Bevan’ march to ‘Keep Our NHS Public’, walking around the health practices in the borough. Medical practices were able to give a good level of service in deprived areas by the MPIG, the Minimum practice income guarantee, which was introduced for this purpose in 2004 following negotiations between the government and the BMA to recognise the higher health needs of both some inner city and rural areas. In 2014 the Coalition Government announced this was to be scrapped, with one seventh of it removed each year until 2021.

Many leading politicians (and their family members) have financial interests in healthcare companies, and NHS campaigners see the loss of MPIG as a part of the continuing privatisation by stealth of the NHS. Many GP practices are now run by large healthcare services, who lower costs by providing reduced services and diverting money which should be used for serving the needs of patients into providing profits for shareholders.

As the marchers arrived at each medical practice they were met by health workers and patients who came out to support them. Among those at the health centre on the Whitechapel Road was veteran anti-fascist and former Communist councillor Max Levitas, who had celebrated his 99th birthday 4 days earlier. I left before the march finished and the rally to go to the Colombian embassy.

At the Colombian embassy protesters were condemning the vast La Colosa & Santurbán gold mines which endanger water sources in the high mountain regions and could wreck their fragile ecosystems. The London protests on UN World Environment Day and follow protests and carnivals by thousands of people in Ibague, the closest city to the mines as well as in other cities in Colombia. In Bucaramanga the whole city turned out in protests to stop the Santurbán gold mine owned by Canadian company Greystar Resources, and in 2019 there was a protest by 50,000 against the United Arab Emirates backed Soto Norte gold project which would be the largest underground gold mine in Colombia. Gold mining would releases large quantities of cyanide and arsenic into the water supplies of several million people.

The posters were in Spanish as they were aimed at the embassy staff. The Colombian Embassy is a relatively small section of a building just to the rear of Harrods, which also houses the Ecuadorian Embassy, where while this protest was taking place Julian Assange was still in political asylum in their small part of the building, and regular protests were still taking place calling for his release. Unfortunately he was instead handed over to the UK police and now seems likely to die as a political prisoner either in the UK or, if extradited, in the USA.

Colombian Mines – World Environment Day
Tower Hamlets – Save our Surgeries
G4S AGM Protest Against Human Rights Abuses


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.