An Arms Fair on Liverpool City Council Premises.
In June 2014 Clarion Events hosted the annual UDT [Underwater Defence Technology] exhibition at the Liverpool City Council owned Arena and Convention Centre.
There was a small protest outside the event which I was involved in organising.
Here it might be noted that the UDT events take place at different venues each year.
After protests about the UDT event in Glasgow during 2018, the Glasgow City Council decreed that it would no longer support arms fairs in any of the premises it owns.
The Arms Fair Postponed
During 2020 it become known that another arms fair would be taking place at the Arena in Liverpool.
This was the Clarion Events organised AOC Europe 2021 (previously Electronic Warfare Europe) arms fair.
AOC [The Association of Old Crows] is ‘an organisation for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare ‘.
Due to Lockdown this event was postponed.
Following on from an outcry about this event, Mayor Joe Anderson stated that he and the Council would develop a policy to prevent such events taking place in Liverpool in the future. Unfortunately he was unable to pursue this policy, as shortly afterwards a scandal about the way the City Council operated resulted in him resigning his post, while a police investigation in to this matter continues.
Then with the ending of lockdown it was announced that the Electronic Arms Fair would go ahead in October 2021.
Protests during 2021
What happened next was that the Merseyside Pensioners Association
organised a series of lobbying pickets and demonstrations both outside various Council meetings and at the Town Hall.
That culminated with a national Protest March which attracted several thousand people, and finally a rally in the city centre.
Here it might also be noted that a large number of the City Councillors signed a statement calling for the arms fair to be cancelled.
With the announcement that the arms fair would go ahead, the musical group Massive Attack cancelled a concert at the venue in protest.
Yet despite all of these protests the Liverpool City Mayor Joanne Anderson said there was nothing she could or would do to have the arms fair cancelled.
On the day that the Arms Fair started there was a large demonstration outside the Arena.
Campaigning for an ethical policy
There is now a campaign calling for the City Council to instigate an ethical policy, and to change the articles of association of the Arena company in order to prevent any further arms fairs happening in the future.
The next AOC Europe is scheduled to take place in Montpellier, France during May 10th to 12th 2022