For information on the DSEI and why we are taking action against it see our No Nuclear Day Campaign page.
No Nuclear Day during the week of action to Stop the DSEI Arms Fair began early on Wednesday 4th September, YCND were at the West Gate, this is our report. At 6.35am a car with 3 Trident Ploughshares protesters parked across the road at the West Gate to Excel, two people got out of the car and locked onto metal tubes that were built into the footwell.
CND protestors were there as support, with banners and fliers for passersby. It quickly became clear that while the car would block lorries, the police were able to direct smaller van around it and the blockade needed to be reinforced. Three protesters from Yorkshire CND joined with three begian activists from Agir Pour la Paie with suitcases containing lock-on tubes in concrete.
Around 7.15am YCND protesters walked into the road next to the car and got onto the floor but were prevented from locking on by the police stationed around the car, two of the protesters were arrested for Breach of the Peace (only to be ‘de-arrested’ by the police about 30 minutes later having been held in handcuffs by the side of the road). The belgians had more success, the three getting into two lockons slightly further down the road.
The next attempt was at 8.50am as two scottish protesters attempted to lock themselves to a wheelchair on the crossing next to the belgians, Janet Fenton of Scottish CND was successful in locking on but was cut out by the police cutting team after just under an hour.
By mid-day the Belgians were finished being cut-out and we were left with just the car filled with many members of the cutting team. At around 2pm Yorkshire campaigners joined members of the Mad Hatters affinity group in attempting a further blockade at the crossing. The police response was particularly rough in this case, with two protesters locked into a suitcase lock-on being dragged out of the road while attached and a number of elderly protesters being pushed over each other.
Due to a large number of police we were not able to regain control of the road after the removal of the car just before 1pm. The final protesters were cut out of suitcase lock-ons at around 4.30pm just before the minibus setoff back to Yorkshire. Andrew made a video of the day for Yorkshire CND which we’ll post as soon as we can. We’ll post an update of the fantastic blockade on the other entrace as soon as we have it.