No Pride in the Arms Trade

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn Bristol Pride’s acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus for this year’s Pride, and demand that they ditch Airbus as a sponsor.

We want an apology from Bristol Pride, a commitment to never again accept money from those who profit from war crimes, and for them to understand that our community does not exist to be used to pink-wash the arming of oppressive regimes.

Police, dispersing Pride Parade in Istanbul

Solidarity is an action not empty words. For Bristol Pride to claim “we are with” LGBTQ+ activists in Istanbul, who bravely marched despite the ban on Pride, while accepting blood money from a company who supply Turkey’s military is gross hypocrisy. Last week LGBTQ+ activists marching at the banned Istanbul Pride were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, arrests and brutalisation; and the AKP government, led by Erdoğan, is deeply homophobic. [1]

Aircraft that Airbus supply to the Turkish military include the CN235 Maritime Patrol Craft, and the A400M multi-role transport aircraft. [2] The latter has its wings assembled in Filton, Bristol. [3]

Turkey has been invading Afrin, a predominantly Kurdish region in North Syria/Rojava, since January this year. There is strong evidence that Turkey has been employing former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters for the invasion and occupation. In an interview with The Independent, a former ISIS fighter revealed that “most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics.” [4]

Made in Bristol! Turkish Military Transport

In a recent statement, the Rojava Democratic Autonomous Administration Women’s Coordination condemned the abuses of the invading Turkish armed forces and their mercenary allies, saying:
“Erdogan and his mercenaries have occupied Afrin and forced people to leave their homes while at the same time changing the demography of the region. Turkey is also settling mercenaries and their families into the homes of the residents of Afrin”.
“The atrocities against the people of Afrin carried out by the Turkish army and their mercenaries are happening every day under the silence of the international community: women abduction, rape, forcing Ezîdîs to become Muslim, plunder.” [5]

The acceptance of sponsorship money from Airbus is also a specific attack on the Bristol queer community. Anna Campbell, a Bristol-based lesbian, was killed in Afrin, north Syria/Rojava, by a Turkish air strike in March. After going to Rojava to learn from, and support, the women’s revolution; and to fight against ISIS with the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), she went to Afrin to help defend it against the invasion by Turkey. She was killed with two YPJ comrades, Sara Mêrdîn and Serhildan, while protecting civilians who were evacuating Afrin.

Hêlîn Qereçox (Anna Campbell)

Airbus, along with BAE and Leonardo, also build the Eurofighter jet which they supply to Saudi Arabia, [6] who have used it extensively in their bombing campaign against Yemen. [7] Currently one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen. [8] Saudi Arabia has one of the worst LGBT rights records in the world, with homosexuality criminalised. Being gay or trans in Saudi Arabia means risking fines, imprisonment, torture and even the death penalty. [9]

We call on Bristol Pride to have some integrity and ditch Airbus now!

Signed;
(Organisations)

LaDIYfest Bristol

Bristol Anarchist Federation

Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network

University of Bristol Trans Students’ Network

University of Bristol LGBT+ Society Committee

Bristol University Intersectional Feminist Society

Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – Bristol

See It From Her +

Eat Up Collective

Bristol Queercaf

Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee

Hell Hath No Fury Promotions

Bristol Socialist Students

Empty Cages Collective

Community Action on Prison Expansion

Bristol Rising Tide

Hydra Books

Wessex Solidarity

Bristol Anarchist Black Cross

The Garden

York says “No Pride in War”

Sisters Against Arms Trade – York

Bristol Against Arms Trade

Mesopotamian and Anatolian Queers for Azadî (MAQFA)

(Individuals)
Alice Phillips, University of Bristol Unison LGBT+ Officer
Dylan Woodward, Labour Campaign Forum LGBT+ Officer
Zack Muddle, Bristol West Labour Party LGBT+ Officer
J – LGBTQ+ Officer for Bristol Young Labour
Luke Tyers, Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity Group
Joanne Hartley, Smash IPP
Glyn Everett, UWE
Felix Le Freak, Cabaret Performer, Winner of Drag Idol UK 2018
Vikkie Moule
Katie Murt
Daniel Key
Christina Knight
Alison Allan
Sam goggin
Scarlet Shepard
Julia May
Zander Von Benzon
Catherine Lambert
Charlotte Buchanan
Chris Scurfield
Sue Fortune
Blaze Harper
Clare Gough
Jen Williams
Em Bowyer
Kate Grant
Alice May
Hywel Harrington
David Campbell
Michael Chant
Chris Powell
Charlie Qereçox
Holly Searle
Mark Watson
Felix Manocha-Seymour
Stephanie James
Nic Aaron
Hakan Sandal
Jess Turner
Klaudia Milewska
Ellie Deakin
Sage Brice
Darcie Howell
Jack deakin
Laura Murphy
Cat O’Shea
Emily Hazell
Miguel Leston
Ella Martell
Koel Mukherjee
Edward Crawley
Tracy Scott
Colin Chaloner
Richard Moyse
Leona Novakova
Isabel Burnett
Bella Whately
Sophie Pritchard
Will Bryson
Maria Kollwitz
Scarlet Hall
Michael Penny
Dani Wijesinghe
June Bianchi
Lydia Moth
James Wijesinghe
William Fitzgerald
Chris Miller
Michael McNeil
Fenris Nightsward
Chloe Rose
Lucy Greaves
Susannah
Bas Fox
Artemis D Bear
Anna Sopwith
Becky Henderson
Lorna Stephenson
Sian Willmott
Caroline Kiely
Dorian T. Fisk
Hannah Fortune
Sarah Williams
James Manning
Imogen Thomas
Sinibaldo De Rosa
Ella Newton
B. M. Rengel
Diego Maeso
maude casey
Sarah Goodwin
Amelia Heath
Anny Cullum
Amy Davidson
Rachel Melly
John Murtough
Az Vince
Mark Newbold
Beth Little
Jen Green
Anna O’Hagan
Aimee Guest
Ellen Guest
Carol Hatton
Bridget hart
Ian Viggers
Mel Holmes
Basu Chakrabarty
Ben Cattle
Alice Young
Thomas Evans
B Mure
Jonathan Booth
Marjorie Caw
Jonathan Pereira
Ed Delicata
Wendy Lyon
Paul Luke

1. https://metro.co.uk/2018/07/03/the-brutality-i-witnessed-in-istanbul-proves-we-must-protect-lgbt-rights-everywhere-7678860/

2. https://www.airbus.com/content/dam/corporate-topics/publications/o&d/2018-05_MRS_GEN_Ord-Deliv-by-country.pdf
https://www.ft.com/content/79abbdae-0c0a-11e8-839d-41ca06376bf2

3. http://company.airbus.com/careers/Our-locations/Filton.html

4. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-isis-afrin-syria-kurds-free-syrian-army-jihadi-video-fighters-recruits-a8199166.html

5. https://anfenglishmobile.com/women/rojava-women-s-coordination-condemns-turkish-abuses-in-afrin-27166

6. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-saudi-bae-systems/britain-to-finalize-typhoon-plane-order-talks-with-saudi-idUSKCN1GL26D

7. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-bombing-civilian-targets-in-yemen-is-helping-grow-bae-systems-sales-says-amnesty-a6882221.html

8. https://www.unicef.ie/stories/yemen-child-dies-every-ten-minutes-preventable-causes/

9. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/27/gay-relationships-still-criminalised-countries-report

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