17-5-2013 De War Resisters League, de zusterorganisatie van Vredesbeweging Pais in de VS, is een campagne begonnen tegen het gebruik en de productie van traangas en soortgelijke chemische wapens. Deze wapens worden op grote schaal door regimes gebruikt om democratische volksbewegingen de kop in te drukken.
De volgende verklaring werd uitgegeven door het, mede door de WRL opgerichte, Global Network Against Tear Gas.
Tear Gas and related chemical weapons are commonly used as tools of state repression and torture against people's movements and true democracy. They are used alongside other tools of torture (sometimes including live ammunition) by increasingly militarized police and correctional officers throughout the world.
In 1993 the Chemical Weapons Convention declared that tear gas and pepper spray may not be used as a "method of warfare" and should only be used by police forces for "law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes." Voices of movements all over the world however, backed by reputable studies, state that police use in effect has declared a war on the people. For this reason, the state's use of these chemical weapons must end.
Though marketed as an alternative to "conventional" lethal weapons, tear gas and pepper spray regularly cause serious harm and even kill, making them part and parcel of the global weapons regime as a whole. They are part of a broader process of the increasing militarization of local police and prisons -- where police forces look more and more like soldiers and the use of military weapons is financially incentivized by governments. Promoted to "control crowds" and people organizing in prison and in the streets, these chemical weapons are just the tip of the iceberg, and working to end their use is a step to put a stop to state repression as a whole.
In addition to many other places outside of this growing global network as well as those who have already joined the campaign, tear gas use has been central in dispersing and suppressing movements for true democracy. Testimonies reveal again and again that tear gas and related chemical weapons serve to disrupt the alternatives that movements are striving to build.
United States-based manufactures of chemical weapons (including AMTEC, CSI, Defense Technology, NonLethal Technologies, and Sage, just to name a few) as well as the local and federal processes that rubber stamp their transfer to US police departments, prisons and police forces worldwide, allow for financial profit in the millions every year from this repression.
From expensive weekly weapons trainings offered to law enforcement and security personnel across the US, to lucrative deals with repressive regimes in every corner of the globe, US companies join other major global manufacturers, such as Condor in Brazil and Dae Kwang in South Korea, in repression profiteering and should be held responsible for their role in silencing the voices of countless uprisings and the world's incarcerated.
Tear gas and other chemical munitions are part of the state's arsonal of weapons of war on the people. For communities struggling against state repression, they know that "the war" has long ago come home and that US-based and multi-national companies are profitting from suppressing dissent and democracy. The moment to end war and repression is now.
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