London Indymedia

September 11th - DSEi Weapons Dealers' Dinner

IMC UK | 11.09.2003 13:27 | DSEi 2003 | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | Technology | London

The official week of events (6th-12th sept) against DSEi, Europe's largest arms fair had seen counter-conferences, vigils, film screenings, protests, direct action, and blockades all taking place - see the DSEi 2003 Special Section). Sept 11th was the penultimate day of the arms fair:

Trafalgar Square became Red Square, as anti-arms trade campaigners filled its famous fountain with fake blood. See Photos and Report and Report Two,

Sept 11th was also the auspicious date chosen for the DSEi / DMA Gala Dinner at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in central London. Arms dealers dined in luxury while around the world the dead were remembered (see Guardian article).

Anti-Arms protestors and peace activists showed their disgust outside the hotel throughout the evening with a noise demonstration. Diners arriving were greeted with shouts of "How many children have you killed today?", while the surrounding streets were repeatedly blocked by cyclists and drummers. Hundreds of police, some in riot gear sealed the area off and were overly aggressive, injuring at least one person who needed hospitalisation (see witness appeal).

There was strong support from passers by, while at least one person infiltrated the hotel dressed in a ball dress. Free food was given out as people stayed late into the night making as much noise as possible, banging pots and pans.

After holding their arms fair gala dinner on September 11th, the world's arms industry left the Lancaster Hotel under heavy police guard. They were able to leave the area via Lancaster Gate Tube Station, which, closed to members of the public, was commandeered for arms dealer only transport.

See Full Timeline

Reports: 1, 2
Pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4
Audio: Samba soundscape from arms gala dinner, Meeting the DSEi dealers
Video: 3 short clips, video 2
Recent mainstream articles: 1,2, roundup

[23:55] Going home, walking to next open tube. There was at least one more arrest.
[23:36] The area is completely militarised. Please stress that tube is accessible 2 arms dealers only
[23:30] Probably 1000 police in the area, Lancaster Gate is open for delegates only but not for the public. We counted 50 cop vans. FIT team officers follow protesters.
[23:11] The protest has finished: police surrounded people and let them out in small groups. Samba band is now leaving, followed by 3 vans of riot police.
[23.00] People (including the samba band) are trying to leave up Bathurst Street (maybe 15-20 people still in pen outside hotel) but those leaving (about 60 people) are now being blocked - they are trying to head for Charing Cross: a few arrests in the last 10-15 minsutes. There are also reports of snatch squads, and rumours of 'arms traders/shoppers' (delegates?) leaving around now.
[22:56] Public and protestors are being surrounded, police not letting anyone out. Lots of police wearing black have been brought in.
[22:20] Riot police lined up outside Lancaster Gate tube
[22:02] Picket still on. Samba still playing. At least 1 confirmed arrest.
[21:47] Noise demo still going strong - pots and pans and banging the barriers - and of course samba - lots of hotel residents hanging out of windows watching.
[21:01] Whole block of the hotel is now ringed by police - area fully militarised.
[20:46] 5 fit teams constantly photograph and video protestors; someone dressed in a ball gown got inside hotel and shouted 'you're all killers!' A photocopied sheet imposing section 44 has been handed out - police have closed the road in front of the hotel - police in back streets have now changed in to riot gear.
[20:12] Numbers swelling to 300. Very strong and noisy picket!
[20:08] People shouting 'scum' at the delegates as they come in; lots of police are forming two lines protecting the entrance to the hotel
[20:04] Police pushed people back to the pavement; one was a cyclist who was kicked to the floor by police and was the person taken to hospital; now there is a 200 strong picket with samba band and free food stall
[19:48] The police are being very violent: shoving, shoving, shoving - some protestors were hit by batons.One was taken away to hospital although it is unclear why. Earlier, many dinner guests were faced by campaigners at the entrance: they were asked how they could sleep at night and if they realised how many women and children they helped to kill;
[19:41] A samba band just arrived with more people, the road is taken!
[19:34] A small sound system on a bike has joined the critical mass
[19:32] Two groups of 100 people - one tried to take the street but was pushed back. A critical mass of 50 is cycling around the hotel



Display the following 7 comments

  1. What is on on Sept 12th? — Lee
  2. arms dealers own the tube now? — myk
  3. Thanks for the memories — Free Trader
  4. Dear Free Trader — mark
  5. missing thoughts — hat
  6. Clarity — mark
  7. Well done free trader — Kenny Smith


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