As many of you will be aware, the Courtyard Theatre in Hereford will be hosting the Hereford Defence and Security Expo next Wednesday, February 1st. Many people have been expressing concern about this and it was suggested that an email be sent to all Ffriends within Southern Marches Area Meeting.
Billed by organisers as a “forum for military, security agencies and suppliers”, it will bring together local private military and security companies with representatives from the UK Government and armed forces, and some of the world’s largest arms companies like Qinetiq.
Some members of Hereford Peace Council, some Quakers and others met on Friday 27th January at the cafe in King Street (formerly called Andy’s Cafe) opposite the Meeting House and continued the planning activities for 1st February; then again at Rocket Cafe ( near Hereford Cathedral, at 24 Church St, HR1 2LR) for those who preferred the later hour, and continued to discuss what to do about the a Expo fair. The next and final planning will be at Ludlow Meeting House on Sunday, 29th January at 2pm. Please pop along to join either part of the meeting if you are interested in taking part. Current plans include writing to the Courtyard Theatre or their sponsors to express concerns, some local media work to expose the expo fair, and a Ffriendly Gathering at the event.
The Ffriendly gathering will begin in Hereford Meeting House at 8:30 am Wednesday, February 1st, to receive instructions and then to assemble before walking to the Courtyard at 9:15am.
The Meeting House (main room) is booked from 8:30am to 4pm and will remain open courtesy of Hereford friends. Hot drinks and biscuits will be provided. Please bring your own lunch.
- Campaign Against Arms Trade will provide help, information and limited funds to support this local initiative.
- Please make the event humorous and light, rather than laying accusations or being confrontational.
An email from The Courtyard included: “The purpose of the Expo is to promote the defence and security industry of Herefordshire, The goods and services promoted relate to cyber security, secure communications, personnel protection and security surveillance. ………… There are no armament manufacturers or dealers involved, nor do we wish to involve businesses of that type. The event involves no offensive capability at all. Speakers represent the UK military and police, government, academia, and the industries that serve them.” From the many emails and references which have been exchanged, it is clear that this is not the whole story and the above statement from the Courtyard is contradicted by many others. The participants of the expo and their ‘leanings’ are posted on open websites and we are informed that an Arms Company is providing the Speaker for the event!
I have composed this email using extracts from many emails I have been sent! I have done my best to make it accurate and up-to-date, but plans keep changing. Contact Murri Smith at murri.smith at smquakers.org.uk for more information.