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Scottish parliament passes motion to halt US arms exports amid George Floyd protests


The successful proposal was supported by 52 votes to 0 with 11 abstentions in a move to back the Black Lives Matter movement. It says the parliament “stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and considers that the UK government must immediately suspend all export licences for tear gas, rubber bullets and riot gear to the US”.

Patrick Harvie, the Green MSP who put forward the successful motion, said the “weapons of oppression”, which the UK government has allocated active export certificates for, were being used by a “racist state” to “brutalise marginalise communities”.

The same amendment also called for the creation of a slavery museum in Scotland “to address our historic links with the slave trade”.

Protesters in the US have seen police cars ploughing into crowds, use of teargas and baton rounds against peaceful gatherings.

International journalists and reporters were also targeted in arrests as well as being shot at while working on the field covering the demonstrations.

After the vote, MSP Mr Harvie said: “In the weeks since George Floyd’s brutal murder the world has been watching the appalling systematically racist police brutality and the systematically racist political establishment in the US that underpins that inequality.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has been inspiring and it needs to be heard right around the world: that racism exists in this country as well.

“I’m delighted that today the Scottish Parliament agreed a Green amendment in an anti-racism debate calling for an establishment of a Museum of Slavery to really shine a light on this country’s grim past connections with slavery and how the inequality of that history perpetuates even now.

“But our amendment also called for an immediate halt of UK exports of tear gas, rubber bullets, and riots gear to the US.

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Teargas and rubber bullets are sold via an “open licence” procedure meaning the value of exports is not publicly declared. In total three separate licences were authorised for this provision.

Since 2010, Britain has licensed £800m of small arms to the United States with campaigners arguing a portion of which has possibly been destined toward police forces.

Assault rifles, sniper rifles and other guns were included in the transactions.

Around £2m in security goods such as riot shields were also included in licenses.

Speaking of the Scottish Parliament vote, Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “This is a welcome and important statement of leadership from the Scottish Parliament.


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