The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has issued a strong rebuke to organisers of the world’s largest arms fair and has demanded that they leave London and never return to the city. Sadiq Khan vowed to block the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition from taking place in the capital again and said he “strongly opposes” its existence this year.
More than 100 people have been arrested so far as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Excel centre, in east London, where the biennial DSEI mass weaponry sale is hosted.
“I too strongly oppose this event taking place in London.
“London is a global city, which is home to individuals who have fled conflict and suffered as a consequence of arms and weapons like those exhibited at DSEI.
“In order to represent Londoners’ interests, I will take any opportunity available to prevent this event from taking place at the Royal Docks in future years.”
Khan also urged DSEI to cover Metropolitan Police costs if they plan to return, as the bill for controlling protests in 2017 totalled almost £1 million.
Supported by the Ministry of Defence, traders will showcase their weaponry to international buyers, including Saudi Arabia who will be attending the event following an official invite from the UK Government. This is despite the Court of Appeal ruling in June that Britain’s arms sales to the Saudi regime were unlawful for their part in helping to fuel bombing campaigns in Yemen, creating one of the world's worst refugee crises.
Ministers are expected to deliver speeches and attend dinners to explore new arms contracts at the four-day fair, and British armed forces personnel will boast rockets, tanks, grenades and more to visiting delegations.
Heckled outside Parliament
In the meantime, Sadiq Khan was heckled by pro-Brexit supporters outside Parliament, who were furious with his record on crime as well as his support to block Brexit. He came face to face with the outraged Brexiteers moments before Prime Minister Boris Johnson also attacked him during PMQs. Mr Johnson told the House of Commons that it was “time to get rid of Sadiq Khan”.
Addressing his first-ever Prime Minister's Questions, Johnson said, “I left him £600 million by the way, and Sadiq Khan squandered it on press officers. The faster we get rid of Sadiq Khan and get more police officers out on the street the better."
Responding to the Prime Minister, Khan tweeted, “Petty and inaccurate point-scoring does absolutely nothing to help our overstretched police tackle violent crime across the UK.”