Massive Attack cancel Liverpool show as arms fair protests grow

Popular electronic band Massive Attack have cancelled an upcoming show at Liverpool’s Arena and Convention Centre in protest at a planned electronic arms fair.

The Bristol band announced on twitter that they would not be going ahead with their concert at ACC Liverpool in opposition to the controversial event next month.

The Association of Old Crows (AOC) is set to hold its AOC Europe annual Electronic Warfare Europe convention at Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre between October 11 and October 13 this year.

But many in the city are opposed to this event going ahead – and a major protest will be held tomorrow, with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set to attend.

A number of Liverpool MPs have today made a powerful intervention in the growing movement against the holding of an arms industry event in the city.

Read more:Mayor Joanne Anderson says council powerless to stop controversial arms fair being held in Liverpool

Liverpool’s Mayor Joanne Anderson has said she too is ‘appalled’ that the event is going ahead but said that despite the venue being owned by the city council, she is powerless to stop it.

Now a number of city MPs have put their name to a motion in Parliament, calling for the major event to be cancelled.

The Early Day Motion has been tabled by West Derby MP Ian Byrne and signed by Walton MP Dan Carden, Wavertree MP Paula Barker, Riverside MP Kim Johnson and a host of others.

It states: “That this House opposes the planned staging of the AOC Europe 2021 electronic warfare event, organised by Clarion Defence and Security, at Liverpool’s Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) in October 2021.

“The event will bring together many of the biggest global arms companies with government and military officials from across the world; further notes that the event will showcase and display a wide range of armaments and military equipment.

“Such military equipment has been used, and continues to be used, by regimes that have abused human rights and civil liberties; (this house) recognises that this inevitably exacerbates the potential for conflict and undermines the search for peaceful solutions to international problems.

“Communities in Liverpool have proudly stood with those suffering injustice for many years and (this house) agrees that the staging of this event is an affront to the city’s shared values.”

The motion concludes by calling on the ACC Liverpool Group to reconsider hosting the event, and any future events, which they say ‘undermine the city’s commitment to peace and human rights’ and to work with the city council to adopt a new ethical charter concerning future events.

More than 70 city councillors have signed a statement in opposition to the event and Mayor Anderson has put on record her own objections – but says the council is powerless to stop it.

Nearly 5,500 people have also signed their name to a petition calling for the event to be stopped.

At a meeting at the end of last month, Mayor Anderson outlined her position against the event, but said the council could not stop it going ahead.

Want to find out the latest news in your area? Enter your postcode on our In Your Area page here

She said: “I am appalled that this event is being held in Liverpool – in one of our buildings.

“However, the inescapable fact is that it is lawful and we have no public powers to stop it. In the same way, we are powerless to stop other people who are not welcome in our city like the far right, from being in our city, unless they break the law.”

She also published a letter on the council website, from Max Steinberg, Chair of the ACC Liverpool group, outlining its position.

Mr Steinberg wrote: “AOC Europe aims to connect organisations and individuals from government, defence, industry and academia to share information, ideas and technological advances to allow the development of sophisticated systems used to make the world a safer place.

“Speakers at the conference will include leading academics and world-class scientists and engineers.

“Topics for discussion will include techniques for radar location, plans for next generation helicopters and tactics for defence against unmanned vehicles attacks on our critical national infrastructure.

“Specialist speakers will provide insights into subjects such as quantum radar, edge computing and low power devices, all at the forefront of technological advancements in defence and security.

“These events are not transactional, all exhibitors must adhere to the highest regulatory standards and any business conducted or discussed is subject to UK export laws. Attendees and exhibitors are assessed on a case by case basis; all applications are vetted and undergo the highest scrutiny to ensure strict compliance with all applicable rules, regulations, international treaties and laws.”

He added: “The ACC Liverpool Group operates a campus of venues, which are available to be hired for both public and private events.

“All event enquiries received are carefully assessed as part of our enquiry validation process, which mirrors well-established and industry standard approaches to establish and review the content of an event.

“This includes ensuring events are from a regulated and recognised sector or industry as appropriate and consistent with inward investment strategies of the City and City Region.”

Want to find out the latest news in your area? Enter your postcode on our In Your Area page here