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.
The five blockaders were part of a group of 40 activists from cities across the U.S. who protested at the factory in Jamestown, PA with the goal of shutting down operations at Combined Systems Inc. for the day. Outside the facility, other activists set out signs, each with the name of a different city where tear gas has been used against people.
Tear gas produced by Combined Systems Inc. has been repeatedly used by local and federal forces to repress Black Lives Matter protests. Despite the fact that tear gas has been banned in war since the 1925 Geneva Protocol following World War I, the chemical weapon continues to be used domestically as a means of “riot control” and is exported around the world. Right now there are five tear gas manufacturers in the United States.
Combined Systems Inc. is one of the largest tear gas manufacturers in the U.S. They are supplying chemical weapons for use in U.S. prisons, to the Department of Homeland Security, and to police departments cracking down on protests in the U.S. and around the world.