Liverpool Greens urge warfare show ban over 'merchants of death' claim

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People in discussion at Electronic Warfare Europe 2019Image source, EWE
Image caption,
EWE said the event brings together people from military, academia and industry

Green politicians have called on Liverpool City Council to block the use of a centre it owns as a venue for an international warfare technology show.

The Electronic Warfare Europe (EWE) event is due to take place at ACC Liverpool on Kings Dock in November.

Green Party councillors have called on Mayor Joe Anderson to "bar these merchants of death from our city".

EWE said the event "does not display or feature weapons" and all participants "undergo the strictest scrutiny".

A spokeswoman for the show said rather than exhibit arms, it showcased "cutting-edge cyber, information security and communications technologies and provides an opportunity for attendees to exchange ideas, develop relationships, and showcase a range of high-tech electronics".

'Better than this'

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the show, which has been held in various European countries previously and took place in London in 2017, has drawn a wide range of government and military figures in the past, including representatives from Hungary, the US, Thailand, and Turkey,

Lawrence Brown, the Green group's deputy leader on Liverpool Council, said the city "doesn't need to be a shop window for weapons of death".

"This exhibition will attract representatives from regimes with horrendous human rights records, who will be touting their cheque books," he added.

"Liverpool is better than this.

"The council must act and bar these merchants of death from our city."

Image source, EWE
Image caption,
The 2019 event was held in Stockholm, Sweden

The EWE spokeswoman said the event would feature "senior speakers from the Royal Air Force and brings together representatives from across military, academia and industry to share knowledge".

"All of our exhibitors and visitors are vetted and undergo the strictest scrutiny," she added.

A spokeswoman for the venue added that a "huge range of public, private and trade events" were held there every year and all were "subject to appropriate scrutiny".

She said the venue existed "to create economic benefits for the city of Liverpool".

She added that events held there had "led to over £2bn of economic impact and now more than ever, during this unprecedented time, we represent one of the most important routes to attracting visitors back to the city".

ACC Liverpool has previously cancelled an event condemned by the local authority.

In 2019, the Great British Shooting Show was dropped after the council supported a motion to condemn the "deplorable practice" of overseas trophy hunting.

Liverpool City Council declined to comment.

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