Witness at DSEI: Practical Information

As our witness at DSEI approaches, we wanted to put some practical information together in one place.

What to Bring

In 2019, Maya produced this great little zine, to help remind us how to prepare for DSEI practically & spiritually: Things to bring to DSEI

Things to protest with:

  • Banners
  • T-shirts / tote bags
  • Instruments / noise makers (not for the vigil or walk of witness!)
  • Postcards about why we are witnessing (we can provide)

Things to stay comfortable: ( the forecast is for hot weather, so please be prepared.)

  • A hat and appropriate clothing for the weather (loose fitting layers are good)
  • Suncream
  • Water bottle & reusable coffee cup
  • Food (there may be some vegan food available for a donation, but it’s best to also bring a packed lunch)
  • Snacks to share
  • Something to sit on (e.g. foldable stool, cushion)

Things in your head and heart

  • Commitment to non-violence
  • Discernment and support from your Quaker Community
  • Trust in your buddy or affinity group
  • Knowledge of your legal rights
  • Solidarity with people affected by the arms trade


There will be stewards around and an information point to help you know where to go. The Excel site is very large – this map of the Excel gives an indication of where we will be – at the East Gate at No Faith in War on Thurs 7th and near the Western Terrace for the vigil on Mon 11th and the opening day of the arms fair on Tues 12th.

Telegram: on the day (and in the build up) we will be staying in contact via Telegram – a messaging app similar to WhatsApp (but more secure). If you’re already confident with apps, search for Telegram and download (the logo is a paper plane), then get in touch for the links to join:  hello@quaker-roots.org.uk .  If you’re not confident, staff will be around at Friends House, and stewards at the protest site, to give you a hand.

Food: Hot drinks will be available, please bring a reusable cup if you can. We hope that some vegan food will be available (for a donation if you can afford it).  However, it’s worth bringing a packed lunch, or being ready to get something from one of the shops near the Western Terrace.

Toilets There will be at least 2 standard portaloos and 1 accessible mobiloo at the site, perhaps more if funds can be raised.

Food, toilets and welfare / information tents have been organised by Stop the Arms Fair – if you can afford it, please consider donating towards their fundraiser.

Staying safe & well

At the protest site there will be a welfare tent available for No Faith in War on Thurs 7th Sept, and the opening day of the arms fair on Tues 12th Sept (this may still be at the East Gate on the 12th).  You can go there for some quiet space to clear your head, or for a friendly chat.  Members of the welfare team will also be looking out for people around the site and checking you’re OK.

If you want to get away from the protest site completely, the Garden Cafe on nearby Cundy Rd will be open 10am to 2pm.  Space will also be available at Friends House during the day on Thurs 7th, Mon 11th and Tues 12th to meet up with other Friends and have some quiet space.

We recommend having a buddy or buddies – a person or two who you will mutually check-in with and look out for each other.  If you’re travelling alone, come to Friends House to meet up with other Friends, form a small buddy group and travel over to the site together (the walk of witness will be leaving from Friends House too).

Bustcards will be available at the protest site and at Friends House – these have important information about who to call if you are arrested.  It’s worth everyone having one, just in case.  And you can read lots of information about knowing your rights on the Green & Black Cross website – we recommend starting with this guide to the key messages.


The Excel centre is on the Docklands Light Railway ‘Beckton’ line, which connects to central London at Tower Gateway, and to other DLR lines and the Jubilee line at Canning Town. Use the Prince Regent stop for No faith in War on 7th Sept, and Royal Victoria for the Vigil on Mon 11th and the opening day of the arms fair on Tues 12th. You can also take the Elizabeth line (Crossrail) to Custom House, and walk (or ride one DLR stop) to both locations.

If you’re planning to leave any bank cards with your name on behind (to avoid being identified) an Oyster card can be helpful (alternatively you can put tape over your name on a contactless card).

On Saturday 9th September, industrial action will affect Cross Country trains – this operator does not run direct services to/from London, but might affect a connection if you are travelling further that day. Check National Rail Enquiries for updates.


Listed roughly from most expensive to least expensive:

Hotels for the Excel Centre: The Excel is a conference centre, and so there are various chain hotels nearby, which will offer a comfortable room and easy access to the site.  Friends have previously used ‘Premier Inn Docklands’.

Hotels or hostels around London: Access to the Excel is via the Docklands Light Railway ‘Beckton’ line, so there may be cheaper options to stay near stops on the DLR or connecting lines.

Air BnB (or similar ‘holiday lets’) in Newham: In previous years some Friends have stayed in holiday lets in residential areas in Newham (the borough Excel is in), a walk or short DLR journey away. Note that there are ethical implications in using residential properties as holiday lets.

Stay with local Friends or meetings: we are looking to see if it is possible to stay with local Friends and/or on the floor of local meetings, perhaps for a small cost (under £10). If this is something you would be interested in, please get in touch and we see what can be arranged: hello@quaker-roots.org.uk

Camp at the protest site: some activists will be camping at the protest site, especially in the set-up week. You will need to bring your own tent and camping equipment.  Be aware that this is camping in a public area, not a private campsite.

Financial support

We understand that travel and accommodation can be expensive – Quakers have a long tradition of supporting Friends who are witnessing to our testimonies.  If you need financial support, please approach your local and/or area meeting in the first instance.  If you cannot raise sufficient funds from your meeting(s), get in touch with the Quaker Roots team who may be able to direct you towards other grants: hello@quaker-roots.org.uk