A group protesting against the sale of arms and weapons staged a “die-in” before the Farnborough Air Show 's welcome reception on Monday (July 11).
Members of The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) played dead at the Science Museum in South Kensington shortly before it closed.
They unfurled a banner which read "NO 2 arms dealers in the museum", before laying down on the floor next to another sign.
The “die-in” was staged ahead of a protest at the museum's decision to welcome military delegations from around the world on the first day of the air show.
Up to 100 people later gathered outside the museum while the reception was taking place, and CAAT said one of its members was arrested at the demonstration.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, CAAT spokesperson Andrew Smith explained why they entered the iconic venue before the protest, which ran for about two hours from 6pm.
He said: “The Science Museum would’ve made a lot of money last night from companies that make a lot of money from wars and conflicts.
“We wanted to make sure as many people as possible who visited knew what they were doing.
"It’s not the first time the Science Museum has hosted this event. But endorsements work both ways and by lending its name to Farnborough, it is endorsing the event by hosting this.”
He said some catering staff at the museum walked out when they discovered who they would be serving food to and at the protest's peak, four entrances to the museum were blocked, meaning CAAT protesters were able to come face-to-face with military delegations.
He continued: “They couldn’t help but notice us. Some turned around and went home, others had a shouting match. We hope it made them think about the human cost of what their industry does.”
Speaking ahead of the protest, the Science Museum director said financial restraints played a part in accepting the FIA welcome committee corporate booking.
He said: “Our response to this fiscal challenge has involved a combination of reducing our running costs and increasing the income we generate.
“Alongside philanthropic support from individuals and companies we continue to expand the range and scope of our commercial activities, including offering spaces for hire for corporate events outside the hours when the museum is open to the public.
“Among the many corporate events taking place at the museum this year is the welcome reception for Farnborough International Air Show. We treated this event as we would a booking from any other legitimate organisation.
“The revenue generated by bookings such as this plays an important role in the funding mix that enables us to remain free to millions of visitors, run the biggest educational programme of its kind, and allows us to curate world-class exhibitions.”
The Air Show runs until July 17, and will see Major Tim Peake make his first appearance in the UK since his return from space.
The site had to be evacuated on Monday, after heavy rain meant lights in the show halls had to be switched off for safety reasons.