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WILPF Women against War and Weapons: Stop the Arms Fair

6th & 13th September, 2023

WILPF UK is taking action as part of the Stop The Arms Fair campaign! You can see the full schedule of the Stop the Arms Fair campaign here, starting from 5th September. There will be talks, music, workshops, art and more.

DSEI – one of the world’s largest arm fairs – returns to London from 12 to 15 September. Every two years, the global arms trade comes to Newham’s ExCeL Centre, showcasing weapons and tools for wars and armed violence. WILPF is appalled at – and mourns – the suffering, devastation and lives lost in wars and armed conflicts. More weapons will not end wars, it will only continue to cause human misery,  climate destruction… and more wars.

Join WILPF and other like-minded women for a march and peaceful gathering at the ExCeL Centre on Wednesday 6th and Wednesday 13th September. Please find the plan and schedule for both days below. 

Wednesday 6 September

This is during the arms fair build-up week, with important activities to engage local people and encourage attendance during the arms fair itself.


WILPF will join with members of like-minded groups to walk from Stratford station and assemble at the ExCeL centre: Mad Hatters (members of London CND groups), Veterans for Peace, Demilitarise Education, Don’t Extradite Assange campaign. The aim is a slow walk to hand out leaflets along the way to inform people about the fair and encourage them to attend. At the ExCeL centre, we aim to join up with other groups and make our messages and presence visible peacefully. We will end the day by joining the weeklyWomen in Black Against War and Militarism silent vigil near Trafalgar Square. 

We will wear black, with purple headwear and green sashes, carrying white peace poppy wreaths to represent our feminist (suffragist) focus. Mad Hatters will be dressed in town crier costume and we will stop at various points for town criers to deliver their message.

Meeting place and time

We meet at Stratford underground station, eastern exit at 11:00, arriving at ExCeL sometime around 14:30.

Route for the walk

Total walk is just under four miles. The route is Stratford station-Stratford old shopping centre – West Ham Lane – New Plaistow Road – Plaistow Road via Plaistow station – High Street – Greengate Street -Barking Road – Silvertown Way – Silvertown Viaduct – down steps off the viaduct to Western Gateway – south of Royal Victoria Dock to cast wreaths into dock. Then back to Western Gateway, west entrance to ExCeL centre, where we aim to gather with others for the final stop of the walk; or to walk to the east entrance to ExCeL centre to gather with others for the final stop of the walk.

Shorter walk: the best places to join along the way are outside Plaistow station (a walk of about threemiles) or outside Canning Town station (a walk of justover a mile), or to meet at ExCeL.

See here the rough outline from Stratford station to where we intend to cast the wreaths into the water:

Veterans for Peace

Hopefully members of the former Veterans for Peace will lead the walk, carrying wreaths made by Jenny, our Brighton Branch Rep, to cast into Royal Victoria Dock in memory of all victims of the arms trade. 

Women in Black Against War and Militarism

WILPF women will join the weekly silent Women in Black vigil at the Edith Cavell memorial, opposite the entrance to the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’sPlace, London WC2, between 18:00 and 19:00.

Wednesday 13 September

This is during the week that the arms fair takes place.

We will assemble at the ExCeL centre, western entrance, at 12:00 with our leaflets, banners and placards. The nearest station is Custom House on the DLR. We will end the day by laying a wreath at the Millicent Fawcett statue in Parliament Square, and then end the day by joining the Women in Black vigil, as above.

NETPOL, The Network For Police Monitoring, will be monitoring policing as the protests happen. Our protests will be peaceful, however, given the met have extensive policing power NETPOL have shared their ‘know your rights training’ presentation which can be found here

WILPF Women against War and Weapons say NO

NO to London showcasing weapons and tools for wars and armed violence

NO to the death, destruction, displacement, and violent oppression and repression that these weapons cause

NO to those who profit from war, killing, injustice, corruption and abusing human rights

NO to the UK government actively supporting arms dealers and military personnel from the world’s most violent, authoritarian and undemocratic regimes

NO to the ways in which the military and war contribute to the climate crisis, destroying the environment, and forcing people to flee their homes

NO to the disproportionate impact of war and weapons on the world’s poorest, particularly women, girls and minority groups

NO to militarism and violent masculinities, and to the consequences of the arms trade that lead directly to increased sexual and gender-based violence and abuse against women in their homes and communities

NO to the social and political inequalities and pressures from the increase in female-headed households when men are killed in armed conflicts

NO to arming and driving wars for territory and to exploit scarce resources 

NO to the ExCeL Centre arms fair, now and in the future