Every two years in the Docklands in East London the worlds largest arms fair rolls into town, DSEi (Defence Systems Equipment International). Delegates from 36 countries come to browse the latest in military hardware on offer. Regardless of human rights records, or intention, arms companies offer everything from warships to rockets for sale. Countries who are currently at war (sometimes with each other) are invited along to out bid each other, whilst the dollar signs flash in the arms dealers eyes.
Each year several companies are thrown out for breaking UK law, be that displaying illegal weapons such as cluster bombs or even torture equipment. However as the fair is part funded by the UK government (to the tune of about £400,000) they have previously stopped the firearms squad from raiding the fair. In fact, the government provide £4 million pounds worth of police to protect the arms dealers each time around.
Taking objection to our governments lack of ethics in putting on a fair for people who, to put it bluntly, make their money out of violence and death, the Space Hijackers have turned up on several occasions to try and disrupt the fair and embarrass the arms dealers about their dirty trade.
Past DSEi arms fairs and the Space Hijackers
In 2003 we boarded trains to the fair, suited and booted with cases full of prosthetic limbs (arms) and attempted to sell them to the dealers.
In 2005, worried about the dealers obsession with phallic objects (rockets etc) we realised they were compensating for a lack of weapons capabilities else where. In a valliant attempt to get them to make love and not war, we tried to sell the dealers sex toys en route to the fair.
On previous occasions unfortunately, we have always ended up being escorted out of the way by police and banned from the area. We began looking for a way of stepping our protest up a level or two. We also realised that aside from winding up arms dealers we would like to come up with something which would interest the media as much as possible. If you speak to people in London, hardly any are aware of the fact the fair even exists, let alone what it consists of.
We needed a new plan, something that would enable us to ridicule the arms dealers, something that would protect us from the police and something that we could exploit our media whore sides with too. As with all Space Hijackers ideas, it was only after a few beers that it came to us. Agents Hardcastle and Bristly Pioneer were sharing a few drinks after a successful midnight starbucks mission when, as if from no-where, Hardcastle announced "We need a tank". Genius!
Little did we know the stress, panic, paranoia and sheer chaos that those four words would cause us over the next few months. However after more beers, we managed to persuade the rest of the hijackers into the plan and we were set to go.
Now all we needed was several thousand pounds! hmmmm