Protestors staged a symbolic 'die-in' demonstration outside the Apex Tower in New Malden on Thursday (June 7).

The campaigners were targeting the arms company BAE Systems, who have office space in the tower.

Members of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Kingston Peace Council, Save the World Club and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign all took part in the demonstration.

They directed the protest not at the company's New Malden employees directly, but at BAE Systems' links to the UK government's arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a Gulf state currently leading a coalition involved in bombing targets as part of the ongoing civil war in Yemen.

CAAT's Tariq Shabbeer, who helped stage the protest and preceding Peace Picnic in Balgdon Park in New Malden, described the protest as "fantastic":

"We held banners up, waved sythes, handed out leaflets and raises names for the petition. About 20 people lied down imitating being dead with blood splattered T Shirts.

"We then peacefully picked up all our props and possessions and led a 'Peace Conga' back to Blagdon Road Park where we debriefed and planned our next steps.

"All has a fantastic time," he said.

Dr Shabbeer added thanks to the police officer assigned to monitor the protest.

"We want to thank Wayne the local community Police Officer who worked with us to peacefully protest.

"We are glad that we caused minimum inconvenience and disruption," Dr Shabbeer said.

The 'die-in' itself (pictured) lasted around 15 minutes and occurred outside the entrance to the Apex Tower.

The BAE Systems' New Malden employees focus on BAE's Naval Ships Business, which provides combat systems for the Royal Navy.

Thursday's protest was targeted at the wider links BAE Systems has to the UK's export of arms to repressive regimes including that of Saudi Arabia.

According to the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data Project (ACLED), the Saudi-led coalition has been responsible for over 4,800 civilian deaths in Yemen's civil war since 2016.

Responding to a request for comment from the Comet, BAE Systems offered the following statement:

"We provide defence equipment, training and support under government to government agreements between the UK and Saudi Arabia.‎

"We comply with all relevant export control laws and regulations in the countries in which we operate. Our activities are subject to UK Government approval and oversight."

For many of the protestors, such as Des Kay, the director of the Save The World Club in Kingston, the fact that the arms exports happen in the first place was reason enough to protest.

"I wanted to draw attention to the fact that BAE Systems are so involved with the sale of armaments to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

"I think a lot of people aren't aware of that at all," he said.