CAMPAIGNERS are planning a series of protests including blockades from Thursday in a radical move to halt an arms fair they branded a 'Trident showcase" in Glasgow.
A protest lobby was conducted at the Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday before council leader David McDonald declined to withdraw further council or civic support for the Undersea Defence Technology 2018 event which is scheduled to take place at the end of next month.
The Scottish Event Campus event will see dozens of firms from around the world gather to promote defence and security equipment.
There has been concern the city council’s arms-length leisure services charity, Glasgow Life, is supporting the event.
The Scottish CND and the hardline pro-independence group Scottish Resistance have confirmed they plan to hold a demonstration on the day the three-day gathering opens on June 26.
And there has been warnings that 'non-violent direct action' will be expected including a plan the SEC to stop weapons, vehicles and other equipment arriving at the venue.
Blockades at the world's biggest arms fair in September last year, led to more than 100 people being arrested mostly for obstructing the highway. The biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair was organised by Clarion Events, which is also behind the Glasgow fair.
Many of those who risked arrest to try to prevent from going ahead said they had done so because they believed the products on sale at would be used to commit war crimes.
Sean Clerkin of the hardline pro-independence group Scottish Resistance said: "A full scale course of action is being planned. On the 26th we are expecting hundreds there.
"It is likely there will be non-violent direct action, in that one or two groups will chain themselves to the road to stop stuff coming in.
"Last year in the London, they managed to get people to join hands and lock themselves to posts right across the road, and delayed for a couple of days the setting up of the conference."
BAE Systems and Babcock International, which are designing and constructing a new fleet of Trident nuclear submarines, are lead sponsors of the fair.
Deputy council leader David McDonald, who is also Glasgow Life chairman when asked if it was appropriate to support the arms fair, said: "Regardless of our membership of the NFLA (Nuclear Free Local Authorities) the city currently has no policy framework in place that relates to the type of events that we may or may not wish to hold. This is something that I will be taking forward in the coming weeks to rectify."
But when asked if he would commit to withdraw council or civic support for the event for this year and future years and to set up an ethical events policy, he added: "I don't think anyone in this chamber is prepared to… risk the city's reputation in any way, whether it is in standing against nuclear weapons as we have done, or [through]the work that the conventions bureau has undertaken over many years to bring conferences and events to this city.
"That's over £1bn worth of business that has come to Glasgow that supports jobs in our hotels sector, in our restaurants, in shops, in bars. It is jobs that support Glaswegians.
"I don't want to take any decision today that undermines those jobs or the city's future prosperity."
UDT, now in its 31st year, has been sold in promotional material as a forum to allow businesses to "engage with the undersea defence community, network and meet prospective customers, showcase your products and services and reinforce your commitment to this ever-evolving domain".
The promoters say it provides arms companies with the chance to "meet face-to-face" with over 1,400 international, senior military and industry leaders".
Organisers Clarion Events, has hosted family-friendly gatherings such as the Baby Show, the Horse Show and the Spirit of Christmas. Since 2008, it has acquired six arms fairs and joined the arms industry trade body ADS.
The Scottish Peace Network has written to the council calling for the event to be cancelled and seeking an urgent meeting.
The coalition of peace groups said: "The UDT conference is not like most other conferences. It's supporters and participants include companies involved in the production of nuclear weapons systems and the supply of other arms to countries which have been accused of using them in breach of human rights and international humanitarian law.
The SNP rulers of Scotland's largest council were told: "The policy of the SNP is that it is 'completely opposed to nuclear weapons' and that 'there should be an immediate halt to all military support and arms sales to regimes suspected of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law'. Hosting this conference is in clear breach of that policy."
"It is the view of the groups represented that this conference should be cancelled and tthat the council should now reconsider its policy with regard to conferences to ensure that no similar events take place in Glasgow in future."
Scottish CND said it was supporting protests against the event and said that it was working with a number of groups to ensure "that there is a clear message sent out that this type of arms fair event is not welcome in Glasgow".
Scottish CND chairman Arthur West said: "Scottish CND and the wider peace movement in Scotland are frankly outraged that these companies are being given a chance to showcase their latest weapons of war at one of the city's most prestigious public venues."