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Peace groups urge Boris Johnson to halt tear gas exports to Trump

US police attacking Black Lives Matter demonstrators

Peace groups urge Boris Johnson to halt tear gas exports to Trump

Peace groups and anti-racist campaigners in the UK are calling on the government to end the export of tear gas and rubber bullets to the USA.

The calls come as Donald Trump threatened to send the army against people protesting about racism and police violence. The US authorities have already used tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters, most of whom have been nonviolent.

The Peace Pledge Union welcomed calls by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Amnesty International to end the export of so-called “security equipment” from the UK to the US. The UK authorities issue export licences for such equipment worth millions of pounds each year.

CAAT are urging people to sign a message to MPs about the issue.

The UK government are frequently accused of breaching their own export guidelines, which say that arms should not be exported when there is a clear risk that they will be used for “internal repression”.

There must be a full investigation to see if any UK-made weapons have been used in these abuses by police,” said Siana Bangura of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), to which the PPU is affiliated.

She added, ““We’re always being told about the influence Boris Johnson supposedly has with the White House. If that’s the case then such influence must be used to call for structural change, rather than continuing to remain silent in the face of police brutality and repression. Black lives have been viewed as disposable and black bodies seen as property for centuries in the USA and the UK.”

Tear gas was used recently to disperse a largely peaceful protest where Trump later posed for a photo-opportunity outside a church, a move condemned by religious leaders, including the clergy of the church in question.

The Peace Pledge Union, who as pacifists oppose all arms sales, also welcomed statements by pacifists in the USA who have been challenging Trump's military repression and joining protests against police violence and racism.

Militarised responses to protests are being monitored and recorded by the War Resisters' League, a pacifist campaign group that is the US sibling organisation of the Peace Pledge Union in the UK.

“The truth is: 'regular policing' has always and continues to harass, detain, brutalise, and terrorise Black people,” said the War Resisters' League in a statement. “And the militarisation of domestic policing isn’t entirely new either - in fact, the history goes back decades.”

Veterans for Peace USA has called on US armed forces to refuse to obey their orders. They explained, “As veterans who served in various wars, we know there is a connection between increasing racist violence in the United States and the massive indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of people in other lands.”

They insisted, “The only thing that will quiet this storm is justice”.

You can click here to send a quick message to your MP, calling for an end to the sale of tear gas and similar equipment from the UK to the US.

You can sign a petition about this issue here.