Peace campaigners brand arms conference delegates ‘murderers’
The heavily-policed three-day event involves subsea weaponry and technology presentations with around 1,100 people from 40 countries due to attend.
Peace campaigners protesting outside an international arms conference shouted “murderers” and “shame” at those attending the event.
Scores of campaigners from the Sink the Arms Fair Coalition were joined by other groups to protest outside the Undersea Defence Technology conference at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.
The three-day event involves presentations on new subsea weaponry and technology with around 1,100 people from 40 countries expected to attend.
Dozens of police were at the scene moving campaigners – some dressed the as grim reaper while others wore forensic-style white suits stained with fake blood – away from the venue entrance, backed up by several mounted officers.
A handful of protesters staged a sit-down protest past the barriers and one man is understood to have been arrested.
Among the groups in the coalition are the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Scotland Against Militarism, Campaign Against Arms Trade ad the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
They were joined by faith groups and unions and many protesters criticised Glasgow City Council, which has 90% ownership in the company which owns the SEC.
Practical support for the event was provided through the Glasgow Convention Bureau, part of the council’s arm’s length organisation Glasgow Life.
Scottish CND chairman Arthur West said he hoped the protest would mean an end to such events in Glasgow.
“There are some signs that the council has got the message the this shouldn’t be allowed to happen and we’ll keep campaigning to make sure there’s no repeat of this dreadful event,” he said.
“It shows up the absolutely criminal waste of resources that go into producing weapons of war.
“All the groups in the coalition long for the day when the skills and expertise of the undoubtedly very clever people here are used for the good of humanity rather than to create more destruction in our world.”
Speakers at the protest included SNP councillor Sam McCartney, from Unison, who said: “We should be telling these people, there’s no place for you here, go home.”
Graham Campbell told protesters the arms trade is a “death and destruction business” and the council could prevent such conventions in buildings it owns and controls, which he hoped would be the case in the future.
On Monday, Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council said in a statement the council is not responsible for the conference or contracts between the organisers and the venue, adding the contract was organised before SNP took control of the administration from Labour in the 2017 council elections.
She said the council had a responsibility to promote the economic benefit from conferences and events but in light of the opposition had asked the Glasgow Convention Bureau to re-examine policies and procedures for support to take into account human rights support and ethical concerns as well as economic critera.