In late September, members of the public in Switzerland took part in a referendum in which they were asked whether the state should commit to spending CHF6bn (US$6.49bn) on a fleet of new fighter jets. The spending plan was passed by just 9,000 votes, or 50.1% of the three million voters who took part.
FN Herstal (“Fabrique National Herstal”) is a Belgian arms company that specialises In producing rifles and handguns. The company was founded in 1889 and is owned - via a holding company called Herstal Group – by the regional government of Wallonia.
$1,917,000,000,000. Or $1.9 trillion. Any way you write it, that’s a lot of money. All of which has been spent on militarism: on weapons production and development, on soldiers, on wars, on bases, on command and support systems, on repression.
On Monday 17th August 2020, five activists from the US-based WRI affiliate War Resisters League (WRL) blockaded the entrance of Combined Systems Inc., a leading tear gas manufacturer, with giant tear gas cans and gas masks.
On Monday 14th September a number of peace and human rights organisations in Belgium launched a new procedure at the Council of State, pushing for the suspension of all permits allowing companies to export weapons to Saudi Arabia.