DSEI is one of the world’s largest arms fairs. It takes place in September at the EXCEL centre in London Docklands, East London every two years. The event is is organised by the British government’s Defense and Security Organisation and Clarion Events, a private events company that organises other such arms fairs around the world. DSEI is attended and supported by individuals and organisations who all stand to make financial gain from war, violence, intimidation, fear and human rights violations around the world.
Its sellers are arms companies dealing in small arms, planes, tanks, warships, crowd control equipment, and surveillance. This fair hosts some of the biggest arms companies worldwide who have a monopoly on global research, design and manufacture that could otherwise be directed to developing renewable energies and alleviating injustice.
The UK sends out invitations to governments and regimes around the world who are committing human rights violations, are at war, or run authoritarian regimes.
DSEI was last held in September 2017. Activists traveled from across the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world to resist the fair. They blockaded roads, slowing down trucks, and disrupted preparations in the week before DSEI. Quakers took action throughout the week, working alongside people of all faiths and none. A large Quaker Meeting for Worship was held in the road, with several hundred participants, and a number arrested after refusing to leave. Quakers were also involved in other forms of nonviolent direct action, including abseiling from bridges, joining road blockades, and challenging arms dealers as they arrived at the event.