Around twenty people concentrated this morning at the gates of IFEMA (the Madrid Trade Fair) to protest against the International Security and Defence Fair (FEINDEF), where the most sophisticated gadgets for killing and making war are exhibited. The protest had been organized by the Plataforma Desarma Madrid and supported by pacifist and ecologist social organizations. The activists had positioned themselves at the entrance to the fair, displaying banners with the slogans: "The war starts here, let's stop it here", "Warlords, get out of Madrid" and carrying cardboard shields on which they had painted: "Stop arms sales". The peaceful demonstration was interrupted by the police who attacked them and threw them to the ground. One person was hurt and taken to the Hospital La Paz and an undetermined number of people were detained and identified while awaiting possible transfer to the police station.
This arms fair has a space of 40,000 m2 at IFEMA, where, with more than 450 exhibitors, different companies and arms manufacturers will be able to sell the best current war technology made in Spain to the more than 100 foreign delegations (made up of businessmen, arms dealers, high-ranking military personnel and government representatives). FEINDEF is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and is aimed at generating business opportunities for the Spanish arms industry. According to the organising organisations, the fair promotes the sale of arms to countries in conflict and the violation of human rights.
Today's action is part of a protest campaign organised by the Desarma Madrid platform, formed in 2016 to denounce arms fairs and the growing militarisation of society. Participating in it are: Asamblea Antimilitarista, Yayoflautas, Mujeres de Negro, Alternativas Noviolentas, Ecologistas en Acción, Escuela Popular de Prosperidad and BDS Madrid. Other organisations such as the state coordinator Alternativa Antimilitarista-MOC, Greenpeace and CGT Zona Sur also joined the protest. The organisers told the media: "We do not want arms fairs in our city and even less in a public space managed by the City Council and the Autonomous Community, such as IFEMA".
Desarma Madrid has called for a concentration tomorrow Friday, 19 May, at 7pm in Madrid, at the Army Headquarters, to continue denouncing that FEINDEF "promotes the sale of arms to countries in conflict in collusion with the governments of Western countries".