News of: Friday, March 18 2005,

Mayor unhappy about ITEC 2005 arms fair in RAI Congress Centre

The mayor (Mr Job Cohen) calls it 'undesirable' that this event takes place in the city, since it conflicts with tackling aggression and violence in Amsterdam.

Since the convention ('Exhibition & Conference for defence training, education and simulation', taking place from April 26-28) will have no weapons on display, it can not be prohibited.

The mayor has said he will contact the RAI Congress Centre about it to air his discontent, and ask that they refrain from organizing the same event again in the future.

Previous editions of the fair (in The Hague) traditionally drew anti-weapon protesters.

The RAI Congress Centre and the ITEC organization say the whole thing is exaggerated; there are no weapons on display, the fair is mainly about fight and defence simulations machines and software. The exhibition is intended for military and police personnel only.

Peace activists point out that 7 of the 10 largest weapon manufacturers are represented on the exhibition. They have announced demonstrations and called upon the mayor to join them. He has said to consider the invitation.