Protests grow as British arms sales to Saudi Arabia restart

Photos: Steve Eason

Campaigners have vowed to keep up the fight to stop British weapons fuelling Saudi Arabia’s devastating war on Yemen, after the government said it would resume granting licenses for arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition on 7 July.

A landmark judgement by the Court of Appeal in June 2019 ruled that it was unlawful for the British government to have not considered whether selling arms to the Saudis might lead to violations of international humanitarian law.

Just days after saying they had reviewed arms sales and concluded that breaches were “isolated incidents”, government ministers told MPs that they were aware of over 500 possible violations of international law by Saudi-led forces. Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith said:

“These are not statistics, they are people’s lives. Saudi forces have bombed schools, hospitals and homes. They have turned gatherings into massacres and inflicted a humanitarian crisis on Yemen.”

Saudi bombs have made Yemen into “living hell” for the country’s population, including 12 million children, according to Unicef. Around 80 percent of the population – 24 million people – are in need of humanitarian assistance in the face of famine and disease. Covid 19 is also now spreading rapidly in a context where the Saudi-led coalition has targeted hospitals and schools.

Meanwhile protests have begun to gather momentum: hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the BBC on 5 July before marching to Parliament Square where they joined Black Lives Matter protests.

Search #MarchforYemen for details of further protests

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