Protestors occupied the Liverpool arms fair on 11 October to ‘prevent firms from showcasing weapons of mass destruction’.
Activists from Palestine Action scaled the roof of the ACC Arena, calling for the event to be stopped. Palestine Action said activists are occupying the event space to stop the “normalisation of war crimes” facilitated through the event.
This is alongside action from several other groups across Liverpool:
“Festival of criminality”
AOC Europe – known as the Liverpool arms fair – began on 12 October. Some of the companies exhibiting at the fair include Elbit Systems, BAE Systems, and ELTA. Elbit is Israel’s largest arms producer and BAE makes parts for fighter jets used in Israel.
A spokesperson for Palestine Action said:
This event cannot be allowed to go ahead. Liverpool’s residents don’t want arms dealers and war criminals gathering in their city, and its presence is an insult to our Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan citizens, and all others whose homelands have been devastated by the products of Raytheon, Elbit, ELTA, and the other despicable firms meeting in the ACC.
After the council and event organisers failed to act, our activists have taken it upon themselves to uphold human rights by disrupting this festival of criminality.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) have both voiced their support for the protestors.
Many had already campaigned against the arms fair, and a petition to stop it has reached more than 6,000 signatures. Alongside Palestine Action, protestors from Liverpool Against the Arms Fair have been on the streets to show their opposition.
Arms companies exhibiting at the fair are known to sell arms to countries known for human rights abuses. For example, BAE Systems, the UK’s biggest arms dealer, sells weapons to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and the UAE. According to CAAT:
BAE’s Typhoon and Tornado aircraft have been central to Saudi Arabia’s devastating attacks on Yemen – attacks that have killed thousands and created a humanitarian disaster. Further Typhoon aircraft have been delivered to Saudi Arabia during the bombing and BAE and the UK government are pushing hard for a new contract.
Liverpool Against the Arms Fair stated:
At the fair, arms merchants, whose weapons have been used to target civilian populations around the world, including in Palestine and Yemen, are due to market and sell their repressive products. Hosting the fair is a severe abrogation of the moral and ethical duties of the Council and is inimical to the values of the City.
The council has faced increasing pressure and protest over its decision to host the arms fair with the band Massive Attack cancelling a gig at the venue. The council didn’t listen. So now it’s down to ordinary people to take action to show the dealers in death and destruction that they’re not welcome in Liverpool.
Featured image via Palestine Action