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Leeds 'Die-In' for an Arms Trade Treaty

Posted by Nicola Sansom Activism and Community Campiagner

9th May 2012

More than one person dies every minute from armed violence.

An Arms Trade Treaty would control the shamefully unregulated small weapons trade, but only if it's as robust as possible.

Students and Leeds residents have been campaigning at their MPs to get David Cameron to show stronger support for arms regulation. Recently they held a flashmob at Leeds University Union to highlight this hugely important issue. It was 'eye-catching' to say the least!

At 1pm on 24 April, a siren blasted from the roof of the student's union, which prompted over 50 campaigners to 'drop dead' for 5 minutes. As a sudden eerie noise was heard across campus, 50 bodies instantaneously dropped to the floor and the message from the balcony was revealed 'Arms Trade Treaty - Sign our petition'. Gasps from passers-by demonstrated the initial impact, as chalk outlines were drawn around the bodies of participants, while groups of students gathered to hear more detail from the balcony. As the 'dead bodies' arose from the ground, the rush to sign petition sheets at the stall was incredible, with many people shocked by the current lack of regulation on the arms trade.

More than 250 signatures were collected in a very short space of time - have you showed your support yet? 

Leeds Uni Oxfam Society have been planning the event with Amnesty and others for weeks. Milly Hooke said "The whole event couldn't have gone better! It was pretty daunting organising something so huge. But now that we have so many signatures to show our MP next month, I think we'd do it all over again!"

Ben Fleet, treasurer of the Oxfam society said "This was done to demonstrate against the atrocities caused by armed violence and to raise awareness of the once in a lifetime opportunity that we have for an arms trade treaty. One person dies every minute from armed violence. The effects of bad regulation are felt here in Leeds where instances of gun crime have risen."

Currently there is more global regulation on bananas and on dinosaur bones than on guns.

How will you show your support for a strong bullet proof Arms Trade Treaty?

Start off by downloading this supporters' pack.


  • Sign the petition and share it.
  • Get in contact with your MP - by email, by letter or in person - to ask them to get David Cameron to make a strong statement showing his STRONG support for the treaty. In addition you can ask your MP to sign the Global Parliamentarian declaration
  • Find others nearby - such as Amnesty or anti-gun or -violence groups - who are passionate about the issue, and link up with them.
  • Think of something creative to share the word and get others involved - from dropping dead to using a banana to tell the story of why we need this bullet proof treaty.

Wherever you live we need to call on every government to secure a strong Arms Trade Treaty that effectively prevents arms from fuelling atrocities and human rights abuses.

Blog post written by Nicola Sansom

Activism and Community Campiagner

More by Nicola Sansom