Edinburgh University Students for Justice in Palestine shut down the University’s career fair yesterday(Wednesday 6th October) to protest the presence of BAE systems who are involved in the manufacture and sale of armaments.
At 3pm, a dozen student activists entered the Careers fair on Adam House, Chambers Street, headed straight to the BAE stall and brandished the Palestinian flag and banners reading “BAE – Blatant Absence of Ethics” and “BAE sells – Israel kills”.
Upon being asked to leave by security, the students held a “die-in” in front of the stall, to symbolise all the people killed by BAE’s weapons. The protest continued for a further 30 minutes, before the activists left, upon threat of arrest by the police, whilst chanting “BAE you will see, Palestine will be free“ and “BAE off our campus, BAE off the map“
University security staff ushered everyone from the second floor of Adam House and refused entry to anyone trying to get in to the building for the duration of the protest. Once outside, the activists continued their protest and leafleted those entering with information on the unethical nature of BAE.
Meanwhile, The Campaign Against the Arms Trade also leafleted outside throughout the day, regarding the unethical nature of BAE and other companies in attendence.
BAE Systems, is the world’s second largest arms producer. It makes fighter aircraft, armoured vehicles, artillery systems, missiles, munitions and much more. In 2008, company sales exceeded £18.5 billion, with about 95 per cent of these being for military use (1). BAE has been under investigation for corruption and was, as a result, forced earlier this year to pay a £30 million fine in the UK and one of $400 million in the USA (2). BAE’s arms are sold indiscriminately around the world, with military customers in over 100 countries. These countries include Israel.
Students for Justice in Palestine are outraged by the links that Edinburgh University continues to have with BAE Systems, despite the fact that in 2005, student pressure led to the University disinvesting from the company due to its dubious ethical record. The University receives millions of pounds worth of research funding from military organizations every year(3). BAE systems are known to have supplied Israel with parts for F16 fighter aircraft, which have been used by the Israeli army to turn Lebanese and Palestinian villages and towns into rubble(4). Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory is the longest in modern history and we urge the University to divest from companies involved in the occupation and continued suffering of Palestinians.
Those who protested believe that the University of Edinburgh should not permit those engaged in such clearly unethical activities to have a presence at its careers fair. We hope that the University will realise that BAE are not welcome and that they will not be invited back next year.
For media please contact Liam on 07519575060 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more pictures/videos.
Notes for Editors
(1) CAAT, World’s Top Ten Arms Companies, 2007
(3) Scientists for Global Responsibility, Behind Closed Doors, June 2008
(4) CAAT, BAE: A Company Out of Control, May 2008
Edinburgh University Students For Justice In Palestine – http://sjp.eusa.ed.ac.uk/