On Monday, students from over the country and local campaigners assembled at the University of West England campus for a day of action against military spending and repression of protest at the university.
United under a banner calling to ‘#reviewUWE’ in the glorious sunshine, the group marched through the campus, towards the Vice Chancellor Steve West’s office block, chanting ‘Drop fees, not bombs’. Once outside the fancy building (complete with private tennis court), everyone shared paper plane making skills for an action that the VC could not ignore. Dozens of paper aeroplanes, marked with slogans and requests to drop military investment, were thrown at the building and nestled in the windows, doors and cracks in the brick work. Meanwhile, people took turns voicing their concerns to the chancellor over a megaphone, to much applause and chanting.
Once sure that the VC had heard the message, the group crossed the road to the Bristol
Business Park which is home to many arms companies including Boeing, Babcock, Selex, Thales and QinetiQ. The protesters visited each company in turn, chanting and exposing which human rights abusing countries they export arms to.
The protest was called as a part of the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending (GDAMS) but had a deeper significance to the students at UWE. The demonstration on Monday called for an independent review of the 20th November’s ‘UWE arms fair’ protest. In November, a peaceful student protest against the DPRTE conference, hosted on the UWE campus, was repressed and several students were injured by delegates of the conference. Since then, student media has been silent on the matter and Steve West has ignored student’s concerns. Support the action by signing the petition that’s calling for a review.
Both UWE students and Bristol Against the Arms Trade members are planning ahead for the next move and are looking forward to what’s in store next. If you are local to Bristol and would like to join in please contact either bris[email protected] or [email protected].