firstname.lastname@example.org (Nottingham Indymedia + Notts Anti-Militarism) | 25.03.2011 20:24
The repression of pro-democracy protests in countries such as Libya and Bahrain has refocused attention on the arms trade. The issue was even covered by the BBC’s One Show which did a report on arms dealers in Nottingham. This included a section on Lenton-based Heckler & Koch.
Previous features: Middle East dictatorships armed by H&K | Nottingham anti-arms trade activist convicted | Direct action shuts down H&K | Shut Down H&K Goes to Church | Campaigning against Heckler & Koch Weapons in Germany and the UK | Campaign Against Nottingham Arms Manufacturer Enters New Phase | From weapons to wars to refugees | The Arms Trade: From Nottingham to Georgia | Protesters Return to Nottingham Weapons Manufacturer | Protesters Target Nottingham Weapons Manufacturers
H&K is one of the world’s largest producers of small arms including assault rifles, submachine guns and grenade launchers. The company has a history of evading arms embargoes in order to supply weapons to repressive regimes and conflict zones. Millions of H&K guns are in use in over 90 countries, and have caused an estimated 1.5 million deaths.
Among those countries is Libya. According to Jane’s Infantry Weapons, Libya’s armed forces are still equipped with Heckler & Koch G3 rifles. The Libyan government bought these rifles from the Greek state manufacturer, which was in turn licensed by Heckler & Koch. This is an arrangement that H&K has used many times in order to evade export restrictions. A recent video even showed Saif al-Gaddafi (son of Muammar Gaddafi) holding a Heckler and Koch G36 assault rifle in the air, as he told a crowd of supporters that “weapons are on the way.”
While Libya has attracted much of the attention and is now the target of military intervention, it is not alone in repressing pro-democracy protesters. The regime in Bahrain has also been shooting pro-democracy demonstrators. Bahraini forces are equipped with the more up-to-date MP5 submachine gun. This weapon is also used by the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, all of which have seen pro-democracy demonstrations recently. Jordanian forces are also armed with Heckler & Koch’s modern G36 assault rifle.
H&K’s office in Lenton is responsible for “international customer sales” and has been the target of protests since 2007. Despite the attention it has received, H&K is not the only arms dealer in Nottingham, as the extensive list produced by Notts Anti-Militarism as part of its"map of militarism" attests. How many others have sold weapons or equipment to other repressive regimes in the region isn't clear.
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