Action History

Every DSEI arms fair has been targeted by numerous direct actions and demonstrations. Here is an (incomplete) list.


  • A week long action camp helped people come together
  • Mass blockades of roads over two days in Chertsey forced organisers to announce that they wouldn’t allow people to drive on the Friday and they had to come by train
  • On the Friday five or six trains were blockaded, including people sitting in roads, car actions, coach actions, tyre actions (in the car parks)
  • Post-DSEi dinner also targeted: red dye spilt outside and protesters made several incursions into the hotel

(The first DSEI took place at Chertsey in Surrey. After this the arms fair moved to ExCeL in London’s Docklands.)


  • A CAAT demo at the the West entrance.
  • March from Canning Town that was surrounded by cops as it massed and crept to the EXCEL
  • Some blocking of the entrance at Custom House
  • Critical Mass bike ride
  • Folk swimming in the dock
  • Red dye in the fountain at Trafalgar Square
  • One train stopping action
  • Mass demo outside the arms dealers’ dinner


  • Warships coming into docks harassed and temporarily stopped by boats before opening
  • CAAT demo first day of opening
  • On the trains: Buddhists communicating with arms dealers, and others selling arms (and legs)
  • Multiple actions stopping trains all week
  • “Affinity group” did action inside ExCeL, having booked a stall!
  • Blockade of East entrance on “fluffy” day (according to non-violent guidelines)
  • Large moving blockades all day on “no guidelines” day, helped by a roving Critical Mass
  • Day culminated in an RTS-style street party that was fairly quickly surrounded by police
  • Rafael (arms dealers) office briefly occupied same day
  • Various affinity actions also through day and week, including at dealers’ hotels
  • Mass demo at arms dealers’ Thursday dinner, including Critical Mass
  • Red dye in the fountains the night of the dinner


  • Street Party Saturday before opening
  • Spoof paper delivered around Newham
  • Attempt to block incoming warship with small boats prevented by cops
  • CAAT march
  • Family friendly “Baby Bloc” got close to ExCeL
  • Day of Blockades, including invasion of Custom House station, road-block with lock-on and car, and roving posses
  • Mass demo outside arms dealers’ dinner and red dye in fountain
  • Several effective train actions during the week


  • About 20 activists attempted to storm DSEi; invaded the car park at ExCeL but didn’t make it inside
  • London Catholic Workers poured fake blood and enacted a “die-in” at an entrance to the arms fair
  • Critical Mass bike ride to ExCeL
  • Space Hijackers’ took a tank to the entrance of the arms fair and “auction” it to the highest bidder
  • Princess of Wales fountain was dyed blood red to remember victims of cluster bombs
  • Bikes Not Bombs Critical Mass tried to get to Dorchester Hotel to join demo of about 150 against arms dealers’ dinner


  • Roving demonstration to target financial institutions that back the arms trade, including RBS, Barclays, Legal & General, Schroders, Lloyds and BT
  • Banner drops outside Barclays and Legal & General and shoes thrown at both companies
  • People write messages on window of Legal & General, including including “Wake up, your work kills people”
  • BT offices invaded
  • CAAT takes coach-loads of campaigners from ExCeL on an arms trade tour of London, ending at the headquarters of UKTI DSO – the government arms sales departments – where they hold a “fayre


  • Protesters in kayaks impeded Navy destroyer HMS Dauntless en route to the arms fair
  • 12 metre “Destroy DSEI” banner hung from cranes opposite ExCeL
  • Die-in at Custom House DLR station
  • Mass die-in at BAE Systems headquarters
  • Arms dealers heckled as they arrived for banquet at the National Gallery



What will you do?