Listen to the songs we will be singing at DSEI.
We’ve chosen simple, well know songs, but you might find it useful to have a practice beforehand – below are videos of each of the 8 songs to help you.
- Dear Friends
- Singing for our Lives
- We shall overcome
- Dona Nobis Pacem
- Shalom, My Friend
- Vine and Fig Tree
- Under the Full Moonlight (Karen Beth)
- Mahalia Jackson Down by the Riverside
Singing for our Lives
We shall overcome
Dona Nobis Pacem
Shalom, My Friend
Vine and Fig Tree
Under the Full Moonlight
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:
- 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)
- 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: email@example.com . 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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: email@example.com
Many thanks to those who have already indicated that they could help facilitate our witness at DSEI this September. We wanted to offer a clearer idea of the different roles and what is involved.
For those who like to take in information a bit more visually, there is a summary of the key roles in our Volunteer Jamboard (a simple set of slides). And if you’d like to chat about any of this, and meet others you might be volunteering alongside, please join our Volunteer Briefing on Tuesday 29th August.
Quaker Roots Roles
Quaker Roots are particularly organising volunteers for the No Faith in War day on Thurs 7th Sept, and the Walk of Witness on Mon 11th Sept. If you would like to help out on other days, we can put you in touch with Stop the Arms Fair who are helping coordinate actions.
Steward / helping at information point
- Being friendly face as people arrive
- Let people know when & where things are happening
- Help Friends join Telegram group to get updates
- Hand out bustcards, remind people of basic Know Your Rights info, point towards legal observers if needed
- Have some postcards for members of the public who want to know what’s going on, engage them in conversation about DSEI
- On Walk of Witness on 11th, help people stick to route, keep up with group
Pastoral friend / welfare
- Potentially tense environment, people nervous about being there – talk to them, calm them, make them feel at ease
- Reassurance, give space for people to talk or have some quiet
- If people need to get away from the protest site altogether the Kitchen Garden café
- Give out water and snacks, encourage people to check-in with their own needs.
- If you are a qualified first aider – be on hand
- Meetings for Worship – 7th Sept 9am, 1pm, 12th time TBC – uphold, explain at beginning, close at end, be aware that we may be continuing to worshipfully uphold people taking action
- Epilogue 5pm on 7th – plan worship to provide sense of closure to the day (but action is ongoing through the week), can be a bit more programmed
- General upholding of worshipful approach to protest across the 7th, atmosphere may be tense, secular activists may be unfamiliar with worshipful approach.
- Uphold & respect other faith groups taking action in their own tradition.
- On Walk of Witness on 11th uphold silent vigils (approx. 20 mins) at each stop
- Singing – we have songs we’ve used in previous years, or bring your own. We can programme some times for singing, also can be useful to bring everyone together as led. BYM will organise amplification.
- Banner making, t-shirts or tote-bag printing
- If you have a craft you’re particularly into and can show people that’s great, otherwise just facilitate people.
- Think about what’s needed in advance and liaise with Quaker Roots team to organise
- Photos, videos or other ways to document the actions, we’ll put you in touch with team
Legal Support Roles
Legal observers are trained volunteers who support the legal rights of activists. They provide basic legal guidance and are independent witnesses of police behaviour at protests. Read more about what being a legal observer involves.
You need to be trained to do this role – if you already are, pease get in touch. If you’d like to train, Green & Black Cross are running training sessions on 19th & 27th August (you need to attend both, and have already attended a Know Your Rights session). Register to receive the details.
Police Station Support
It is so important that we support arrestees, which includes meeting people at the police station when they’re released. Read more about what Police Station Support involves.
This would be an especially useful role for London-based Friends (you don’t need to have been at the protest to help with this role). Call outs for police station support during the DSEI arms fair protests will happen in a Signal group [sorry to involve another messaging app!]. If you would be willing and able to support in this way, please contact Dixie Wills at Quaker Peace & Social Witness: firstname.lastname@example.org
Briefing for volunteers – Tues 29th Aug 7:00pm
This session will be an opportunity to:
- Find out more about what these roles involve,
- Ask questions, and decide what’s right for you,
- Meet other people who will be volunteering alongside you,
- Let us know your availability and preferences.
Let us know if you would like to volunteer, but can’t make this session – we can send you information on the roles and be in touch about how to get involved. email@example.com
Thinking about how we respond to authority can bring up difficult questions and strong feelings for many of us.
On 1st August, we held a session looking at the three key reasons why we are asked not to talk to the police during our actions, which centre around keeping each other safe:
- To act consistently and in consensus with other groups taking action;
- To avoid giving away information to intelligence gatherers;
- To stand in solidarity with those who are disproportionately targeted by police violence.
Many thanks to those who participated, reflecting and listen to one another in the spirit of Advices and Queries 17:
Do you respect that of God in everyone though it may be expressed in unfamiliar ways or be difficult to discern? Each of us has a particular experience of God and each must find the way to be true to it. When words are strange or disturbing to you, try to sense where they come from and what has nourished the lives of others. Listen patiently and seek the truth which other people’s opinions may contain for you. Avoid hurtful criticism and provocative language. Do not allow the strength of your convictions to betray you into making statements or allegations that are unfair or untrue. Think it possible that you may be mistaken.
Friends gathered in small groups to discuss the question ‘why are we asked not to talk to the police during our actions?’ (And similarly why Quaker Roots and Stop the Arms Fair are not planning to engage the police beforehand). Here are some thoughts that arose:
Acting consistently with others
- Making sure everyone is on the same page
- Need to decide the level of risk we’re prepared to take – but not just making a decision on your own behalf – what we say and do affects others
- Acting together helps strengthen our right to protest
The role of the police
- Police are constantly information gathering
- They’ve got a job to do, which is in tension with our right to protest
- Can we trust the police? Be wary of appearance of friendliness, which may hide an agenda
- Having these discussions can make us challenge our own compliance
- Someone from BYM will be available to be a liaison on the day – they will know in advance what they’re going to say and not say
- Solidarity with others – disproportionately affected by police violence
- Level of risk is not equal for everyone
- In particular: people of colour, young men, Muslims, trans people, people with insecure immigration status, are at greater risk
- Avoid division between ourselves as ‘good’ protesters, and others as ‘bad’ protesters
Helpful approaches we might take:
- Try not to seek engagement
- Be polite but step away
- Use each other’s names less – call each other Friend
- Use the power of silence
- Understand the context – might be different to everyday situation
- Have a degree of suspicion, without letting it change us
Thanks to everyone for their helpful thoughts and challenging questions. Hannah Brock-Womack wrote a helpful blog ahead of our actions in 2021, which remains a useful reflection on these issues:
Know Your Rights
Quaker Roots take our position on interacting with the police in line with Green & Black Cross’ (GBC) key advice for protesting.
- No Comment
- No Personal Details
- Under What Power?
- No Duty Solicitor
- No Caution
If you’ve not attended one before, GBC are offering three online Know Your Rights training sessions in August. At Quaker Roots we recommend these sessions for those joining our actions at DSEI, especially if you have questions or are feeling unsure about recent changes to protest law.
Finally, we ended the session by remembering that the police are not the primary reason we will be witnessing at DSEI. We recalled the powerful testimony of our speakers at the Human Cost of War event. And we concluded with some helpful words written by Rebecca Solnit, on the power of hope:
“Hope is not happiness or confidence or inner peace; it’s a commitment to search for possibilities.”
Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak. When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God’s guidance and offering counsel to one another?
Advices and queries 27
Quaker Roots are calling on Friends to Witness at the ‘No Faith in War Day’ on Thursday 7th September. In order to be impactful and supportive we are asking Friends to let your life speak, for yourself, God and for those who are silenced due to the Arms Trade.
The day will be multifaith (insh’allah), where Friends and other religions will hold space to Witness before the opening of the DSEI Arms Fair on Tuesday 12th. We will endeavour to make it as accessible as we can. Quaker Roots, along with QPSW (Quaker Peace & Social Witness) and STAF (Stop the Arms Fair) are in the process of organising toilets, a food stall and a pastoral care tent. If you are aware of any other needs you may have please let us know.
For the day to be successful we need Friends, and lots of them. Friends to offer help, Friends to offer practicalities, Friends to join us in organising, Eldering, holding activities (banner making, songs, etc.). If you have an interest in helping out with one of these areas already, it would be great to hear from you, via our ‘get-involved’ page, or on firstname.lastname@example.org (you’re not committing to anything at this stage.)
There will be more details to follow, and other things Quaker Roots are planning; it’s fine if you’ve got questions or need more time before knowing how you might want to join in.
For those who missed our Know Your Rights training, we will be holding another for Quakers nearer the time, and Green & Black Cross (GBC) have two public sessions in May. The GBC website is also a great resource to understand protest law, what our rights are, and basic steps we can take to keep each other safe.
Preparing for Action at DSEI – open meetings each month.
All are welcome to our regular open meetings to hear more about our plans, ask questions and see how you’d like to get involved. See our events page for upcoming dates.
Our wonderful facilitators took us through our rights in relation to protest at a recent session, and offer these links to further information and support:
You can find legal resources provided by Green and Black Cross (GBC) at the GBC Website.
If you are interested in reading more on common charges, you can find these on the GBC website.
Information on injunctions: https://greenandblackcross.org/guides/injunctions/
The Network for Police Monitoring has lots of useful information and resources on their website: https://netpol.org/.
Link to Bustcards (for all regions): https://greenandblackcross.org/bustcard.
Stop and Search
Here is a link to a stop-and-search ‘Know Your Rights’ card. It is also recommended to print these off and hand them out at protests. Please encourage protesters to read them: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wCFYm59GJvKDn3c4bdZ3wVLgitfG1AaK/view?usp=drivesdk.
The app and website ‘Y-Stop’ has information on your rights around stop-and-search, as well as a space for you to record searches, challenge the police, and make complaints. It’s a good idea to download Y-Stop if you have a smartphone: https://y-stop.org/.
5 key messages:
- UNDER WHAT POWER?
- NO COMMENT!
- NO CAUTION!
- NO DUTY SOLICITOR!
- NO PERSONAL DETAILS!
See if your job requires an enhanced DBS check: http://hub.unlock.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/A-Z-of-specific-job-roles-and-eligibility-for-criminal-record-check.pdf.
Unlock Website info about criminal records: https://unlock.org.uk/topic/about-criminal-records/
Informed dissent has some really good info: https://informeddissent.info/arrestandimmigrationstatus.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) have answers to commonly asked questions, and also have a free helpline (020 7553 7470).
Activist Trauma Support has useful resources on trauma, burnout & sustainable activism (archived resource): https://www.activist-trauma.net/
ASSIST Trauma Support has further information and resources on trauma: http://assisttraumacare.org.uk.
Take-aways from the Quaker Roots Open Meeting on February 22nd 2023
Quaker Roots held an open meeting to discuss ideas and concerns for action against the DSEI Arms Fair. This is a wee snippet of what came out of that meeting:
- The Meeting for Worship outside DSEI Arms Fair is powerful and needs to happen again.
- It is important to take action while the Arms Fair is happening and during the set-up week (No Faith in War day).
- Taking part in a Merchants of Death tour through London.
- Using singing as part of protest.
- Working with other faith groups.
- Linking with Friends who can’t attend in person, through social media perhaps?
- Creating a clear schedule for day of action, so Friends know what is happening.
- Having a mic available, so Friends can hear Ministry.
- Having a variety of actions for people to do during the day.
- Filming the whole event.
- Friends hosting local TEDx talks about the importance for peace.
- Friends gaining full information about legal rights and recent changes in protest law.
- London Friends providing accommodation and food for travelling Friends.
- We want to have a large presence of Friends.
- Clear information and messaging for Friends to have at hand, leaflets etc.
- Creating links between migrations, environment and conflict.
- Have placards available for Friends to just pick up.
We also decided that it is important to have continuing open meetings, and Friends are invited to contribute and come with ideas. The next meeting will have time set aside to talk about how Friends can contribute further to make sure ideas happen.
The next Preparing for Action meeting will be held on 22nd March 2023 on zoom.