Careers Fair Disrupted by Anti-Arms Trade Activists
About five or six activists turned up at the engineering careers fair in the Jeremy Bentham room this evening attempting to block attendees from reaching the BAE Systems stall. The UCL students involved held a banner in front of the BAE stall reading “BAE careers in killing” and distributed leaflets detailing BAE’s involvement with the Pinochet and Mugabe regimes.
Eleanor Penny, a UCL student involved, told us: “We believe that the enormous potential of these students can and should be harnessed for the good of humanity as a whole and not prop up a company whose corruption is matched only by lack of scruples.”
Despite activists holding a banner in front of it, the BAE stall still attracted many interested students.
However, BAE’s mint humbugs, free pens and lucrative internships continued to attract interest. One girl, attempting to reach the stand, said to activists trying to deter her “but BAE are about defence”, her male companion said: “you’re not engineering students; you don’t understand.” Another attendee said to activists “lower your banner, you are being unpeaceful”, one activist responded: “while the arms trade is peaceful?”
A man from the space company Astrium, sat opposite the BAE stand, told us that he’d seen more impressive protests directed against the arms trade. During the careers fair at Bristol University, he told us, BAE had attracted activists donning fake blood and impressive lying-down-pretending-to-be-dead tactics that had seen them ejected by security.
UCL’s activist tactics, however, were more subtle in approach, which meant security allowed them to stay for the whole event. Masquerading as BAE officials, activists distributed leaflets mimicking BAE literature and answered questions by interested individuals. Some were genuinely shocked on hearing BAE’s record on human rights. However the satire was lost on others. On being asked by activists “are you interested in a career in genocide?” one attendee answered: “do you do internships?”