Durham students run miniature ‘arms fair’ outside careers fair

February 21, 2012

One of the students involved reports on the day’s action:

The good news is we stayed for the whole event and managed to speak to, quite literally, everyone who visited the careers fair.

Inspired by Charlie Brooker’s anti-arms trade “GUN SAAAALE” routine, we set up our own miniature arms fair on a nearby bench to draw attention to our protest. We labelled toy cars, planes and boats with the names of real weapons, their manufacturers, their prices and which “satisfied customers” (i.e. dictators) already had one. Dressed in a suit and shades with a big “Arms Dealer” badge on my label, I invited passers-by to the arms fair, because “we don’t care who buys our weapons or what they do with them, we’ll sell them to anyone”. I spent a while playing with the toys and threatening the protestors with them to show them off to the public.

It attracted a lot of attention, and was useful for people to quickly see the facts about specific arms deals in a funny and easily digestible way.

We had about 40 people sign our petition to ban arms dealers from university buildings, and are drafting a motion for our union to the same effect. The Amnesty International society and I are currently in discussions with other relevant societies such as Oxfam and Durham University Development Abroad, who are particularly angry at arms dealers taking money away from education, health and infrastructure projects in the developing world, and Student Action for Refugees, who help lots of people escaping from war-torn countries. We hope to hear back from them all soon to create a large coalition against the arms trade.

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