Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images / Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Scotland votes to end export of tear gas and rubber bullets to United States amid crackdown on protesters


Jun. 15 2020, Updated 3:06 p.m. ET

The Scottish Parliament has voted to end the export of rubber bullets, tear gas, and riot gear to the United States amid protests over the death of George Floyd. President Donald Trump has faced international criticism over his tough stance on the unrest, which has led to peaceful protesters being met with force in many cities.

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On Thursday, Scotland voted to end the export of weapons used by the police in response to the crackdown. According to rules in the United Kingdom, weaponry cannot be sold to any government where there is a "clear risk that items might be used for internal repression." 

Source: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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The motion was voted through with overwhelming support, passing with 52-0 votes and 11 abstentions.

It states that the Scottish 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 United States."

Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, said that police in the United States were 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," he added.

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Source: David Ryder/Getty Images

The motion could soon apply to the entire United Kingdom, with 166 members of the Westminster Parliament signing a letter that says the United Kingdom "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," the letter states.

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If the United Kingdom does not move to end the export of weaponry, then the government could face legal action.

Lawyers have sent a pre-action protocol letter to the United Kingdom's international trade secretary asking whether a decision has been made over the issue. The letter states that refusal to suspend the licenses would be unlawful.

The letter reads in part: “Following the death of George Floyd and the widespread protests that immediately followed and currently continue across all states, the claimant has become increasingly concerned over the excessive militarized police response to the protesters."

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“The claimant has received a number of harrowing accounts from her friends who have been attempting to exercise their rights to peacefully protest."

“The claimant is extremely concerned by reports that the UK Government is currently permitting the supply and export of equipment to the USA in circumstances where there is a real risk that such UK-manufactured military and law-enforcement equipment is being used against protesters in dangerous and highly inappropriate repressive ways.”

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President Trump recently branded protesters who had created a police-free 'autonomous zone' in Seattle as "domestic terrorists."

According to The Guardian, the area is mostly peaceful and "has both a protest and street fair vibe, with a small garden, medic station, smoking area, and a 'No Cop Co-op,' where people can get supplies and food at no cost."

However, Fox News reports that police have heard about "anecdotal" incidents of "citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area."

In a tweet last week, President Trump wrote: "Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!"

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He also labelled the group as "anarchists."

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