US police officers may soon find themselves in short supply of equipment that enables them to deal with protesters. The Scottish Parliament has just voted to stop exporting rubber bullets, tear gas, and riot gear to the US.
According to the official motion, the parliament “stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement, and considers that the UK government must immediately suspend all export licenses for tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot gear to the US.”
The UK has sold around $7.53 billion of munitions to the US since 2010, including $22 million in tear gas and rubber bullets and $2.5 million in riot shields. The UK’s licensing criteria states that the materials should not be sold if there’s a risk that they might be used for internal repression.
The decision is an attempt by Scottish politicians to distance themselves from police injustice in the US, and show a measure of support for the movement.
According to Insider, Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, accused US police of using “weapons of oppression … by a racist state and it is unacceptable for us to be exporting them, putting those weapons into the hands of people who will brutalize marginalized communities. It’s important that we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement.”
UK Parliament members are reportedly considering a similar ban. One hundred sixty-six MPs signed a letter saying that the UK is “bound by law to freeze export of all policing and security equipment to the US where it could be misused. The brutality now aimed towards protesters and reporters across the country is unacceptable.”