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BREAKING: Extinction Rebellion targets arms industry: Disarm to Decarbonise


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BREAKING: Extinction Rebellion targets arms industry: Disarm to Decarbonise

XR Peace has joined with other anti-arms trade activists to stage a day of action targeting key players in the polluting, oppressive arms industry.

  • At 8am, XR Peace activists glued and locked themselves onto the doors of Leonardo UK’s HQ in Great George Street to protest the company’s involvement in the arms trade by providing guidance systems for missiles used in Yemen and Syria, as well as other media technology and telecommunications. Three activists were arrested on the scene; a fourth was arrested for holding a banner. 
  • At 9.30am, eight XR Peace activists, including a 91-year-old man, from the Trident Ploughshares group glued themselves together outside the Supreme Court to highlight the government’s continued failure to obey international law on arms production. The action is to highlight that the indiscriminate use of Trident nuclear weapons to kill civilians as well as military targets is illegal under international law.
  • At 11am, four XR activists glued or locked themselves onto the door at Lockheed Martin’s London HQ one of the biggest arm companies in the world, supplying weapons in Yemen and Syria. Three people looking on were arrested.

Militaries around the world are major polluters and are often exempt from international climate agreements on reducing carbon emissions. The US military by many measurements is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum and emitter of greenhouse gas and other pollutants.

A spokesperson for XR Peace said: “The existing geopolitical tensions – that climate breakdown will only increase – are lucrative opportunities for the arms trade, and ones it seeks to capitalise on. The arms trade is not just an active participant in climate change through its massive carbon footprint but is a direct barrier towards a transition to a fairer world, based on principles of ecology and cooperation.”

Eight members of XR Peace have super-glued themselves together outside the Supreme Court, including Eric Levy (91 years old, fourth from left). Credit: Gareth Morris

A statement from XR Peace: “How are fossil fuels being captured and their resources controlled? How are governments protecting corporate economic interest abroad? How are indigenous and local communities, whose lands are rich with fossil fuels, being displaced or strong-armed by governments – governments who service corporate interests over human life? How are popular movements against this extractive capitalist system repressed? As environmental disasters and atrocities of war continue to displace millions, how do racist governments control their borders?”

“Through the use of arms and subsequent violence; facilitating, sustaining and profiting the industrial military complex.

“The fossil fuel and arms industries feed off each other – creating massive wealth for a minute number at the cost of millions of lives, besides the devastating urban and ecological destruction.

“This is a market based on devastation. It must be stopped. Whilst there are guaranteed profits emanating from this horrific system, there can be no genuine will to change it from within a capitalist framework. That is why we must rise up as concerned citizens to take direct action.

“The existing geopolitical tensions – that climate breakdown will only increase – are lucrative opportunities for the arms trade, and ones that it seeks to capitalise on. The arms lobby is a serious and powerful entity and it will use this power to influence political circles to see that its interests are met. Thus, the arms trade is not just an active participant in climate change through its massive carbon footprint, but it is a direct barrier towards a transition to a fairer world. A world based on principles of ecology and cooperation.

“If we are to attempt to turn around the already devastating impact of climate change, as well as seek justice for those who have already suffered far too much, we must stop the arms trade.

“We take action today to put a tangible spanner in the works of the arms industry and to stand in active solidarity and resistance with all people all over the world who are suffering and fighting back against the violence of occupation and war. The bombs fall elsewhere but they are built here and so, too, must be our resistance.”

Notes for Editors

1. XR Peace is a coalition of peace groups taking part in Extinction Rebellion: Trident Ploughshares, CND, Scottish CND, CND Cymru, Stop the War, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, War Resisters International, Nukewatch, Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre, Iona Community, Nipponzan Myohoji UK Peace Pagodas.

2. For the campaign for a Convention on Ecocide see: https://stopecocide.earth

3. On 20 June 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are unlawful. The judgment also accused ministers of ignoring whether airstrikes killing Yemeni civilians are in breach of international humanitarian law.

“UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia unlawful, court of appeal declares”, The Guardian, 20 June 2019

 4. Although the Government committed to suspend any new arms sales while conducting a review; Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade admitted in September that the court order had already been breached three times.

“Truss admits UK broke ban on Saudi arms sales three times”, The Guardian, 26 September 2019.

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook.

Get involved:

  • In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
  • Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
  • Find your local group.
  • Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
  • And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.

About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.


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