The Scottish Parliament has voted to cease selling rubber bullets, tear gas and riot gear to the United States as America cracks down violently on protesters.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer a month ago, protests have erupted and continue to take place all over the United States as people demand an end to racial injustice, inequality and police brutality.
And while some criminal elements (as well as possibly members of both the far-left and the far-right) have capitalized on the state of chaos with violence and looting, the marches and protests have largely been peaceful.
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However, there have been numerous incidents of police using strong-arm tactics and attacking protesters who were seemingly posing no obvious threat.
And president Donald Trump has made it quite clear where he stands on the matter, encouraging the police force to clamp down hard, thereby effectively inciting more violence and division in the country.
According to United Kingdom (UK) regulations, weaponry should not be sold to any government where there is a “clear risk that items might be used for internal repression”.
With this in mind, a vote was taken in Scottish parliament earlier this month as to whether anti riot gear should continue to be exported to America.
The answer was a resounding ‘NO’ – by 52 votes to 0, and 11 abstentions.
“[Scottish Parliament] stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and considers that the UK government must immediately suspend all export licenses for tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot gear to the United States,” read part of a statement.
America is called a ‘racist state’
Co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie, didn’t pull any punches when commenting on the matter:
He spoke of “weapons of oppression…by a racist state and it is unacceptable for us to be exporting them, putting those weapons into the hands of people who will brutalize marginalized communities. It’s important that we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement,” Harvie added.
But while the Scottish Parliament has voted on the export of riot gear, it still has to be ratified by the United Kingdom government.
However, weapons sales are big business for the UK in a multitude of foreign countries, and a report this week (Monday) has detailed how the government has been accused of “dragging its feet” over the matter.
Shadow peace minister Fabian Hamilton said: “It’s extremely worrying that the government has dragged its feet on encouraging this committee to be convened.
“At a time where the sale of tear gas and crowd control equipment to the US and the use of British weapons in Yemen are rightly being questioned, the work of the committee on arms exports controls is more important than ever.”
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