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Breaking: Palestine Action occupies roof of ACC Liverpool in anti-weapons fair protest

City council and mayor have refused to cancel event. Now protesters take matters into their own hands

Protesters from Palestine Action have occupied the roof of the ACC exhibition centre in Liverpool, after the city’s council and mayor refused to cancel the event at the council-owned centre, despite an ‘ethical charter’ pledge when last year’s event was cancelled. The 2021 event is scheduled to start today.

The mayor claimed she and the council were powerless to intervene, despite the council’s ownership, which means the council could sack the entire ACC board if it wished, and the cancellation of different past events – and despite mass protests by the people of the city and cancellations of other events by outraged organisers.

Now some protesters have taken matters into their own hands by direct action. Palestine Action have tweeted pictures and video of the protest and occupation:

Palestine Action is asking supporters to join them at the ACC.

The event is promoting electronic weapons such as drones that have been used by governments against civilians in Palestine, Yemen and other oppressed and occupied nations.

A statement issued by the group reads:

At the ACC Arena – the site of the Liverpool Arms Fair, which is due to commence tomorrow morning – activists have begun occupation of the event venue, to prevent the firms in attendance from conducting their business of bloodshed in Liverpool.

Due to appear at the fair – in attendee, key note speaker, and marketing capacities – are a number of the world’s most morally despicable companies: from Elbit Systems, to ELTA, Raytheon, L3 Harris, BAE Systems and more. Fairs such as this would offer these companies the opportunity to showcase their products to governments and procurement agencies across the globe, and by holding these fairs in major cities in broad daylight, organisers are attempting to normalise their murderous operations.

Altogether, 4 Israeli arms firms and 13 International arms firms which supply the Israeli military were due to appear at the event. These firms are already complicit in war crimes, repression, and apartheid in Palestine, and it is immoral and insulting to then invite them to hold their discussions and sales talks in our towns and cities. Local residents, organising groups, and councillors have all spoken out against the arms fair, with protests taking place over the last month in an attempt to have the event cancelled. The council, event and venue organisers were all happy to ignore these calls – leaving direct action to stop the fair as the only viable option for activists.

After a dozen activists stormed the site at 19:00 Monday evening, two activists successfully scaled the building, and are occupying the ACC roof. Ahead of tomorrow’s event, activists will endure police harrassment, intimidation, and removal attempts, and are hoping to prevent the arms fair from opening in the morning.

The action will continue as long as it can, and aims to be as disruptive as possible. A Palestine Action spokesperson has said the following:

This event cannot be allowed to go ahead. Liverpool’s residents don’t want arms dealers and war criminals gathering in their city, and its presence is an insult to our Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan citizens, and all others whose homelands have been devastated by the products of Raytheon, Elbit, ELTA, and the other despicable firms meeting in the ACC. After the council and event organisers failed to act, our activists have taken it upon themselves to uphold human rights by disrupting this festival of criminality.”

This occupation of the ACC is an escalation of previous protests and actions taken across the city. After thousands gathered to voice their opposition to the event, other actions by Palestine Action have involved covering the venue in blood-red paint, but these calls to stop the arms fair have been ignored as organisers press ahead with this unwelcome and unethical meeting.

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  1. Direct Action..the only way ..Stop feeding the Labour parasites that allow this.These brave people could be jailed for showing courage and determination to stop the merchants of death.Stop funding the enablers of this lunacy and withdraw your funding for the Labour party enablers of slaughter.IF these brave people are brave enough to sacrifice their freedom how much bravery does it take to stop funding the Labour party.

    1. I agree with everything you say here. There is no point in continuously putting one’s faith in a ‘Club’ that kicks you in the arse at every turn. The LP is a husk, a shell of how it was, run by a career clique. As a social Club it exists in every Ward; and why not, it’s a Community. But it doesn’t really need these charlatans and Careerists making the Rules and running it how they want. Keep that precious community organisation but put it where your heart is.

  2. Paul you cannot underestimate the courage of these people who are a minority who will probably spend time in a cell and prison as well in our ever more draconian society.that seeks to stiffle opposition especially from the streets.You dont promote change by promoting the House of lords,titles,strutting knights of the realm.You promote change by climbing a roof in the bitter cold winds or blocking the merchants of death trying to enter into a feista of macabre.I salute these brave and honourable protesters in Liverpool.

  3. Joseph, apart from Scousers, others from out of town have to be given huge credit for taking part in this action.

    1. Then I salute them and hope my fellow Lancashire lads from Bolton and W.Lancashire turned out because its certainly a nationwide problem of giving a city friendly attempt to “normalize warmongers and murderers.ITs certainly not exclusive to Liverpool but I hope a very rough ride from the streets will signal that the working-class movement want nothing to do with exporting war and misery..Jack T I hope that the brave individuals that captured the rooftops are safe but worry that they will be identified and jailed,let us know anyone?

      1. Two activists were arrested but they have been released. Two are still on the roof of the exhibition centre but the police have cordoned off the area to prevent protesters getting near.

  4. War crimes are like burglaries. We have to fix them ourselves. The thin blue line is too stretched with political action or collecting revenue from motorists driving whilst eating Mars bars.

  5. Respect to the brave Palestine Action. If I were 30 years younger, I’d be on that roof with you!

  6. Solidarity to the protesters!
    Justice 4 Palestinians
    & Peace 2 All in the Region!

  7. Kudos👌

    A pity it’s come to this. Should have done the right thing.

  8. First they came for the Palestinians. Me? I did nothing. I’m not Palestinian. We know how that story ends…

    Thank Heavens, we’re no-where near the end of that story (or sadly, even the Sir-Keir-Deceit-and-Betrayal stage of it).

    Power dehumanises and destroys everything indiscriminately. Thank you PA. I hope a good number of you are still members of the attrociously suppressed Labour party.

    Well done Palestine Action. There, but for the grace of G*d…..

  9. Yes Merchants of Death Not Welcome Here!
    Saw on Twitter one of protesters lost their coat getting up there & is a bit cold.
    Anyone got a spare coat for one of these heroes?
    If I was in Liverpool I would be down there.

  10. I am immensely proud of Palestine Action and the activists that have carried out this direct action to try to shut down the vile arms fair. I hope they are successful.

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