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Cardiff defence event set to attract 'arms fair' protests

Anti-war campaigners threaten to protest at DPRTE 2016, as organisers deny event is an arms fair
26/01/2016

Pictured: DPRTE 2016 is set to take place in Cardiff in March

Anti-war campaigners are set to protest at a meeting of arms manufacturers and defence experts in Cardiff  - but organisers have denied the event is “an arms fair”.

DPRTE (Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability) 2016 is set to take place at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on March 16, attracting international arms manufacturers and defence experts from across the world. It is the second time the conference has been held in Cardiff, having been relocated from its previous home in Bristol following protests.

Organisers have denied the protesters’ claims that the event is an arms fair, calling it “the UK’s leading defence procurement event.” 

A spokesman for the Motorpoint Arena said: “The DPRTE exhibition is not a weapons exhibition or ‘arms fair’ and is concerned with the overarching issue of security and the threats affecting many areas of public life.

“A great deal of thought goes into deciding what exhibitions and trade shows can take place at the arena. DPRTE is concerned with the sharing of security and systems advice with a broad range of sectors, from leading construction companies and higher education providers, to data sharing organisations.”

A spokesman for event organiser BiP Solutions said: “The event covers all aspects of the defence industry, much of which has little to do with armaments or what could be termed as military equipment.

“What our delegates decide to discuss amongst themselves is a matter for them, but there is no item concerning ‘arms trading’ within any of the agendas.”

More than 1,000 key decision makers from across the defence sector are set to attend the conference, with more than 80 firms exhibiting. Anti-war protesters have set up the Stop the Cardiff Arms Fair group in response and are threatening to protest at the event.

A Stop the Cardiff Arms Fair spokesperson said: "Organisers deny it's an arms fair, clearly it is. Protests in Bristol meant DPRTE could no longer do their dirty business there - let's make sure they never want to come back to Cardiff. It's horrific they want to do this in our city."

Andrew Smith, from the Campaign Against Arms Trade, added: “Events like DPRTE provide a forum for arms companies to promote their wares and network. The conference has sessions on military exports and a presentation from UKTI DSO, a body that exists solely to promote arms exports.”



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