Last Monday, students from Demilitarise King’s disrupted King’s College London’s (KCL) high profile launch of their ‘2029 Vision’. They drew attention to the hypocrisy of an event celebrating a strategic plan that aims “to make the world a better place”, while continuing to show support for the arms trade as a prestigious institution through it’s close ties with arms companies like BAE Systems.
Students staged a die-in in KCL in central London, drawing attention to the university’s blatant hypocrisy to guests invited to the event as they entered the Great Hall. Some of the signs read “King’s Kills”, and “Books not Bombs”.
Through negotiations with security and university staff, a few students representing the campaign were invited in, whilst the protest continued outside.
In the Principal’s speech, and throughout the promotional video, the King’s 2029 vision was reiterated: “Our vision is to make the world a better place.” The video screening ended with the statement “it’s our deeds that define us.”. Students interrupted and challenged the Principal on the irony of these two statements, and the hypocrisy that lies behind them.
A Demilitarise King’s representative said:
“Displacement, murder and destruction of human lives? If King’s College is to represent itself as providing answers to ‘world questions’, we must work to actually address the systemic causes of global suffering and examine our own complicity in these practices.”
The action followed an open letter signed by staff, students and members of the public in December. Demilitarise King’s will keep up the pressure until KCL’s involvement in the arms trade is acknowledged and their demands for an end to all ties with companies complicit in human rights abuses around the world are met.
Severing ties with companies that profit from violence would be one step closer to – in the words of the King’s Vision mission statement a “King’s for the world”.