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The PPU join other peace campaigners to challenge Telford Arms’ Fair

The PPU join other peace campaigners to challenge Telford Arms’ Fair

Britian’s leading pacifist organisation joined other peace groups and individuals to contest the ambiguously named Specialist Defence and Security Convention (SDSC) at Telford International Centre on Thursday 2nd November. Alongside the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), other attendees included Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Extinction Rebellion, and Quakers, as well as the event organisers Stop-SDSC. 

Campaigners greeted delegates with banners showing their disgust at the destructiveness of the global arms trade, the devastating impacts of which are horrifyingly evident in Gaza as in other places around the world. Sustained action by campaigners meant the arms fair was moved from its previous location in Malvern and the aim of yesterday’s action was to ensure the event does not come back to Telford. 

On Wednesday 1st, the first day of the arms fair, several Extinction Rebellion activists chained themselves together and locked on to the front gates to try and stop the fair from going ahead. Their blockade caused disruption but after several hours they were arrested. 

These arrests did not stop peace campaigners returning for a second day of demonstrating. Activists brought numerous banners over the two days, including ones that read “Peace is Armless”, “War Kills People & Planet”, and “Blood on Your Hands”. They chanted “Shame on you” to those coming in and out of the arms fair, as well as handing leaflets out and speaking to passersby, many of whom were interested in the demonstration.  

There were speeches from the event organisers, Quakers, XR, trade unionists, and the PPU. Links were made between the arms trade and current atrocities in Israel-Palestine, as well as in Yemen and elsewhere, the climate crisis, and on the cost of living crisis in the UK where “defence” spending is prioritised over welfare. 

With Remembrance Day approaching, the future victims of the arms being sold at SDSC were very much on the minds of all campaigners. The PPU laid a white poppy wreath to symbolise peace, contest militarism in our communities, and to remember all causalities of war, including innocent civilians. Many of the activists in attendance wore white poppies to show their support. 

It has been announced that the event organisers plan to hold the event again in 2024. Peace campaigners have responded by making clear their intention to continue to put pressure on Telford Council and the Telford International Centre to change their decision, restating the misery caused by the global arms trade. 

The PPU is proud to support members and local peace campaigners taking nonviolent action in their own lives and communities. If you or you group would like support for a community campaign on an aspect of militarism, or would like help with a local event, please send us a message or call us on 020 7424 9444. You can find out more about what support we can offer here