Thursday 17 September 2020

Victory as electronic arms fair cancelled in the face of broad-based Liverpool campaign

Liverpool Against the Electronic Arms Fair declared victory today  after organisers of an international weapons show cancelled plans to use the city’s Exhibition Centre in November.

The Electronic Warfare Europe show, organised by Clarion Events on behalf of the Association of Old Crows, was due to be held at the Exhibition Centre from November 16-18. Organisers declared that the exhibition would now be moved to Seville, Spain in 2021.

Campaign founder, Green councillor Lawrence Brown, said: 

‘We are delighted that these merchants of death have recognised that there is no welcome for them here in Liverpool.

‘In just a few short weeks we brought together peace groups, local councillors from across the political spectrum, faith groups and anti-war activists to demand that the council, which owns the Exhibition Centre and manages it through the ACC company, close the door on this event.

‘This cancellation is testament to the efforts of all the people who have signed our petition, sent emails to our MPs and councillors, and planned for online and public demonstrations in the coming weeks.’

Electronic Warfare Europe blamed the threat of a further British government Covid-19 lockdown on the decision to move the exhibition to Seville in Spain next year.

However, the announcement followed a public call from Right Reverend Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool who signed the cancellation petition and said:

‘In this time of pandemic the nations of the world should be helping one another, not shopping for clever new ways to kill and oppress people. I hope that Liverpool will say no to this Fair, and will say yes to life.’

Campaign chair Martin Dobson pointed out that the cancellation was made after plans were announced for a national Day of Online Action this Saturday and mounting pressure on Mayor Joe Anderson, who sits on the Exhibition Centre Board.

The Green Party had put down an emergency motion to be debated at the next Council meeting, Labour MPs had pressed the Mayor to cancel and Labour councillors were planning to force a debate at the Labour Group.

Mr Dobson added: 

 ‘Whatever, the reason, we’re pleased this arms fair has been cancelled, but we will be contacting our friends and colleagues in Seville and offering to support any campaign they launch to close it down there.

‘This must also act as a wake-up call to the Mayor, Council and Exhibition Centre Board to develop an ethical booking policy to ensure such a damaging event is never allowed again.'

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