UPDATE: All charges have been dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service failed to produce any relevant evidence, and no witnesses. Fantastic levels of solidarity were shown, with people from distant cities traveling to the hearing to boost the morale of the defendants.
From Radical Wales
Two anti-militarists are up in court this coming week, having been accused of disrupting last year’s DPRTE arms fair in Cardiff. The pair are due to stand trial on Tuesday 6th January 2015 at Cardiff Magistrates Court and could potentially face custodial sentences.
They are accused of damaging the luxury goods of DPRTE arms dealers and organisers -including a £400 suit and a £200 pair of designer shoes – with childrens play paint.
According to it’s website, DPTRE (the Defense Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability exhibition) is the “UK’s Premier Defense Procurement Event” and is now being hosted annually at Cardiff Motorpoint arena. Their first time hosting the arms fair in Cardiff was on the the 8th of October 2014, with exhibitors at DPRTE include BAE Systems, the world’s 3rd largest arms producer with a very special relationship with the UK government & Saudi dictatorship. BAE also supplies Israel with the tools to wage war on the Palestinans and after the horrors seen perpetrated by Israel over the summer, from bombing a UN school to the killing of children playing on a beach, there is no doubt that BAE systems is complicit in these crimes through it’s arming of the Israeli state.
There has been active opposition DPRTE since 2013. The arms fair had previously been hosted at the UWE campus in Bristol, but was subsequently driven out, hence the move to Cardiff. The protesters involved a variety of actions including blockading the UWE north entrance causing queues trailing back along the A4174.
Having being driven out of Bristol, South Wales Anarchists, Stop NATO Cymru and others resolved to show the arms dealers that there is no welcome for them in Wales either. Many felt it unjust that whilst ordinary people are struggling and having to turn to food banks or are on the brink of homelessness, these arms dealers are walking around in expensive clothes worth more than most local families’ entire monthly disposable income, all bought with the profits made from mass murder. What does a statistic like 100 000 dead civilians in Afghanistan mean to the arms dealers at DPRTE? In material terms it means a bit of financial security and a couple of nice holidays a year.
In a similar vein, Elliw from StopNATO Cymru said:
“What I would like to know is when have the arms dealers ever had to justify their horrific choice of career? Have the arms dealers ever had to look a mother in the eye and explain why their expensive suits, luxury goods and nice big homes are so much more valuable than the lives of their children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers? These cowards never have to face the consequences of their career choice. It sickens me that we live in a society that rewards such abhorrent and frankly psychopathic behavior.”
For those arrested opposing DPRTE in 2014 there will be a short solidarity demonstration outside Cardiff Magistrate’s Court from 9:15am on Tuesday 6th January 2015. Anti-militarist banners and well-wishers welcome. Afterwards some will be supporting the defendants from the public gallery.
If you were present at the protest against DPRTE Arms Fair at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in October 2014, you may be able to provide useful defence evidence. Please email: