Protest against Brisbane arms dealer expo

·2-min read

Seven demonstrators have been arrested at a protest against a major weapons and defence expo in Brisbane.

Protesters are rallying outside the LAND FORCES 2021 expo at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.

The three-day show, partly funded by the Queensland government, has 600 participants exhibiting and buying weapons, vehicles and communications, surveillance and training systems.

Police say two people were arrested for dropping paint on the steps of the building and another five were arrested for public nuisance offences.

Acting Inspector Michael Coulson says the protesters had been generally cooperative with police.

"They have been talking with our police negotiators and we're certainly aiming to continue that relationship," he told reporters.

Shut Down Land Forces Expo spokesman Liam Parry says his group have been chanting at attendees as they come and go.

"We're opposed to some of the largest weapons dealers and war criminals coming to meet in Brisbane to plan how they're going to sell bombs to armies around the world that are killing civilians and committing war crimes," he told AAP.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles announced the state was a step closer to setting up a munitions testing range.

He hoped it would attract more weapons makers and defence contractors to base themselves in the state.

"A Queensland munitions test range would support commercial users to innovate and help develop a truly sovereign capability in future guided munitions development and manufacture," he said.

Greens MP Amy MacMahon said the Queensland government was spending taxpayers' money to promote an industry that profits from war.

She said the government hadn't disclosed how much it had spent on hosting the expo.

"Rather than turning Queensland into the khaki state, we should be creating thousands of jobs providing the services and infrastructure that Queensland actually needs, like jobs in constructing public housing, health, publicly owned clean energy, and manufacturing," Ms MacMahon said.

Insp Coulson said about 80 police were at the scene on Tuesday and officers would return on Wednesday and Thursday.

He said the protesters had not disrupted any traffic or people who were not involved in the expo.

"We'll be working as close as we can with the protest organisers to make sure that it's a safe event and that everyone is able to get their message across," Insp Coulson said.