The ACC Arena in Liverpool, the site of a major arms fair that was set to open today, has been occupied by activists from the campaign group Palestine Action.
Arms companies including Elbit Systems, ELTA, Raytheon, L3 Harris and BAE Systems are due to exhibit at the AOC Europe 2021 event between 11-13 October.
A Palestine Action spokesperson said: ‘This event cannot be allowed to go ahead. Liverpool’s residents don’t want arms dealers and war criminals gathering in their city, and its presence is an insult to our Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan citizens, and all others whose homelands have been devastated by the products of Raytheon, Elbit, ELTA, and the other despicable firms meeting in the ACC.’
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Campaigners in Liverpool have launched a legal challenge in an attempt to stop the city playing host to a major weapons fair next month.
The event, AOC Europe 2021, is due to take place at the ACC Exhibition Centre on 11-13 October 2021.
However, anti arms-trade activists have called on the Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, and the city council to use their powers to cancel the arms fair.
PILC, instructed by Mark Jackson, a social justice campaigner, have sent a pre-action protocol letter to Joanne Anderson. This is the first step before launching a judicial-review challenge
The basis for the potential challenge is that the city council, which owns the exhibition centre, should have cancelled the event on ethical grounds, and that its failure to do so may be unlawful.
The legal action is being supported by the Merseyside Pensioners Association, who had previously called for a national demonstration.
That demonstration will now take place at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on Saturday 11 September 2021 at 12.30pm. It is being organised by Liverpool Against the Arms Fair and supported by the wider labour and trade-union movement.
Separately, the human-rights charity War on Want has launched a campaign against the AOC Europe arms fair.