Scotland Votes To Ban Exports Of Rubber Bullets And Tear Gas To The U.S.


Scottish lawmakers are expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests. Some call the U.S. a “racist state.”

The Independent reports that as of June 11, Scotland’s parliament has called upon the United Kingdom government to suspend riot gear, rubber bullet, and tear gas exports to the United States.

  • Fifty-two votes backed the motion. There were zero votes against the motion and eleven abstensions.
  • Patrick Harvie of the Green party proposed the successful motion. He called riot gear, rubber bullets, and tear gas “weapons of oppression” and accused the United States of using these to “marginalise communities” as a “racist state.”
  • According to government license export records, the United States is one of the largest buyers of United Kingdom arms. Nearly £6 billion worth have been licensed for export to the United States since 2010.
  • This includes £18 million of ammunition, including rubber bullets, pyrotechnic charges, CS gas grenades, and tear gas.
  • 166 lawmakers in the United Kingdom parliament from nine different parties signed a letter also calling for a similar suspension on weapons exports to the United States. In the letter, they claim that the United Kingdom “is bound by law to freeze export of all policing and security equipment to the US where it could be misused.”
  • This likely refers to the government’s licensing criteria, which states that it must not grant exports if there is a “clear risk that items might be used for internal repression.”
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed that he was “happy to look into any complaints,” but that he was also confident that “all exports are conducted in accordance with the consolidated guidance and the [United Kingdom] is probably the most scrupulous country in that respect in the world.”

Harvie also said,

In the weeks since George Floyd's brutal murder the world has been watching the appalling systematically racist police brutality and the systematically racist political establishment in the US that underpins that inequality.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been inspiring and it needs to be heard right around the world: that racism exists in this country as well.

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