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Wednesday 30 November 2016

Save Aleppo activists call on UK to say no to Putin’s bloody money

Syria Solidarity activists today protested outside the Russian British Business Forum, to call for sanctions on Russia. The conference, which promises to ‘bring together business and finance officials from Russia and the UK,’ has been organised by the Russian Trade delegation in the UK. The event is being held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London even as Putin’s bombers destroy Aleppo, intentionally targeting hospitals and schools, and indiscriminately killing men, women and children.

Activists in ‘Save Aleppo’ t-shirts offered ‘bloody money’ leaflets to delegates and let off confetti canons as they entered the conference, and offered ‘bloody money’ to the Russian Ambassador as he arrived. Since the resumption of the Russian and Syrian regimes’ bombardment of Aleppo on November 15th, over 500 civilians have been killed. Tens of thousands of them are fleeing from Russian jets—many bombed as they seek escape.

Amr Salahi, a Syrian activist who was outside the conference this morning, said ‘On Monday Theresa May said “business as usual” with Russia is not an option, yet today we witness a trade event going ahead as planned. We urge the UK business community to think carefully: any company that continues to trade with Russia at this time will be associated with its war crimes in Aleppo and risk lasting reputational damage.’

He added: ‘The UK and the EU have already imposed some sanctions on the Putin regime for its illegal annexation of the Crimea, but businesses in the UK are still able to trade with Russia, and Russian banks still have access to the SWIFT international banking system.’

‘The reality is that current sanctions have not been enough to deter Putin from further violence against the Ukraine, nor from his campaign to destroy all popular democratic resistance to the Assad regime. The world has no legitimate business with a regime which is currently exterminating an entire city, and committing war crimes, in order to keep a dictator in power.’

Flora Bain, part of the Syria Solidarity Campaign UK, said ‘The truth is that UK trade with Russia taints us all with the blood of Syria’s children. The price of allowing Putin’s aggression to continue is too high. We must act now.’

Activists will be protesting outside the conference all day to call on the UK Government and business sector to:

  • Freeze all trade with Russia until its military stops targeting Syrian civilians.
  • Demand that Russia is cut out of the SWIFT international banking system to make it more difficult for Putin’s regime to do business abroad.
  • Join the growing calls for a UN General Assembly emergency session to bypass the Russian UNSC veto and allow measures to protect civilians in Syria.

Syria Solidarity UK is a grassroots solidarity group of Syrian and UK activists. Contact: info@syriauk.org

More information on the conference and a full list of speakers is available at www.easternseasons.com/forum2016