Scotland’s parliament voted Thursday to call on the U.K. to suspend exports of tear gas, riot gear and rubber bullets to the U.S. in light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests that have spread across the nation following the death of George Floyd.
In a motion lead by Minister of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Patrick Harvie, the anti-racism proposal was backed by a 52-0 vote with 11 absentees, calling on the British government to formally ban the exports.
“Clearly, the U.S. is not a safe country to which we should be exporting tear gas, rubber bullets and riot gear,” Harvie said Thursday. “Those are the weapons of oppression in a society in which police forces — which, in some states, were founded as slave-capturing militias, still display deeply institutional racism.”
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The motion is in direct response to clashes between protesters and police, at times turning violent as police officers were caught on camera using excessive force.
Harvie also suggested that Scotland build a slavery museum “to address our historic links with the slave trade”.
Demonstrators in the U.S. took to the streets to protest racial injustices within the police systems across the country after Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody.
In recent days, the movement has seen greater calls to “defund the police,” and there is a push to remove statues and monuments of Confederate war memorials across the country.
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“In that context, the call to defund the police should be in no way controversial when compared with defunding of education, health care and housing, which has been endured disproportionately by black communities,” Harvie said in his address to the Scottish Parliament Thursday.
Countries throughout Europe, including the U.K., have seen large demonstrations, and several statues of slave traders and symbols of imperial rule have been removed in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“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,” Harvie said following the vote, according to the Independent.
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The U.S. is reportedly one of the biggest buyers of U.K. arms, with £6 billion in licensed exports — roughly $7.5 billion — since 2010.
Ammunition makes up £18 million, or nearly $23 million, of the goods, which include rubber bullets and tear gas, according to reporting done by the Independent.