Mayor condemns “repugnant event in pursuit of profit” 

The Defence and Security Exhibition International fair was hosted at the Excel centre between the 12th and 15th of September

By Newham Voices

Armoured cars on the streets of Newham preparing for the exhibition
Armoured cars on the streets of Newham preparing for the exhibition. Photo: Daniel Lamb

There were demonstrations and protests at the Excel centre in Custom House in mid September as the world’s largest arms fair took place despite opposition from Newham Council, faith groups and peace campaigners.

Speaking at a webinar on the arms fair organised by CND, Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz pointed out the irony of holding ‘this repugnant event in pursuit of profit’ in an area which has some of the worst poverty and social inequality in the country.

She said the council opposed the arms fair for a number of reasons, one of which is that Newham is a ‘Borough of sanctuary’.

“People from all over the world who have personal experience of war escape the conflict to make Newham their new home,” she said. ‘We should be investing in life.”

Kate Hudson, director of CND, praised Newham Council for its stance on the arms trade which she said would “bring hope to those in areas where there is suffering from this deadly trade, mainly the global south”.