Article published: Wednesday, July 4th 2012
A Manchester activist demonstrated alongside a tank driven through central London last week to demand tougher controls over the arms trade.
Eamon Rooke, 23, of Wilmslow Road, Manchester, joined the Oxfam and Amnesty International campaign ahead of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty this week which is intended to address the lack of global regulations.
The goal of the campaign, said Rooke, is to pressure the UK government into pushing for tougher measures on the international sales of arms and ammunition, which are currently unregulated.
Following the decommissioned tank, Rooke explained why he wanted to be involved with the campaign.
“This is such an important issue, there are more international regulations on the sale of bananas and dinosaur bones than there are on the trade of arms and ammunition, these statistics are frightening,” he said.
According to the UN, “Unintended explosions of ammunition depots have affected over 60 countries worldwide”, but with no global framework the sale of arms at best is covered by an “eclectic set of national and regional control measures”.
The armoured vehicle led demonstrators past the Indian, South African and US embassies in a bid to attract international attention to support in the UK for strong action.
It then continued past the Brazilian and Kenyan embassies while activists jogged alongside.
“People in London are very curious why there us a tank driving right through the city, we have found the British public have been really surprised about the comparisons to regulations on other goods,” added Rooke.
Support for the campaign has been rising over the last few months with Oxfam volunteers like Rooke lobbying MPs to convince the UK government of the strength of feeling on this issue.
The treaty will be negotiated at an international conference in New York held from 2 to 27 July.
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