Campaigners are holding a 'Peace Picnic' and direct action in New Malden tomorrow (June 6) in protest against the arms trade.

The day of community picnics and campaigning is being held at Blagdon Park in New Malden from 1pm on Thursday.

Organisers from Kingston Peace Council, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Save The World Club and Palestinian Solidarity Campaign are helping stage the event.

CAAT Fundraising Manager Tariq Shabbeer (pictured) has lived in New Malden for 20 years and told the Surrey Comet that the event would be peaceful and fun.

"It's open to the whole public, after work or school or whatever they're doing. We're hoping people bring their own picnics but we're also providing food. I'm making 80 samosas!" Dr Shabbeer said.

"It will all be free, we're not allowing anyone to charge for food though people can donate to one of the campaigns if they like...

"We'll be discussing things like what is peace? Peace of heart, peace of mind and so on. We'll observe a two-minute silence in commemoration of D-Day, and then after that they'll be music, all acoustic so we don't disturb the neighbours," he said.

The Peace Picnic is scheduled to continue until 7pm.

From 3pm onwards, however, organisers said that some of activists from these groups will leave the park and take the lead in staging a "die-in" protest outside the Apex Tower opposite New Malden, where defence and communications company BAE Systems have offices.

Campaigners and politicians including the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas have highlighted the role that UK arms and communications exports to Saudi Arabia have played in the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen's ongoing civil war.

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 the conflict since 2016.

"The industry is not about defence now, it's about attack," Dr Shabbeer said about the reasons behind Thursday's protest against BAE Systems.

"It's about selling arms that cause wars, not prevent them. We want to put that argument forward...most people don't know that we have arms companies based in New Malden," he added.

Organisers said they will have a "peace conga line", singing and dancing with placards between Blagdon Park and the Apex Tower, where they will stage a symbolic "die-in" protest "for around 10-15 minutes".

Responding to a question about the jobs provided by the UK defence industry, Mr Shabbeer said that campaigners hoped to see a transition from making armaments and related items to other, more sustainable products.

"CAAT have very clear reports that show the same skills used to make arms can be used to make renewable energy.

"Exactly the same skills and training techniques can be used to make solar energy panels, wind turbines, that will create so much work," he said.

The CAAT campaigner added that the groups involved in tomorrow's demonstration were "absolutely not" opposed to workers at BAE Systems themselves.

"We'd like to say that, for those who work for BAE Systems, we're not against them, we're not against their livelihood.

"We want to see a way that BAE Systems can transform what they're doing from being involved in harm to doing things that are peaceful and sustainable. A clear way to do that is through renewable energy. We appeal to them directly," Dr Shabbeer said.

The Peace Picnic is scheduled for 1pm at Blagdon Park, New Malden, with free entry and food.