Activists protest arms bound for Saudi war in Yemen

Activists in Bilbao protest onloading of armaments to Saudi ship bound for Yemen. Photo: Etorri Errefuxiatuak
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Peace activists in Spain have protested what they say was the onloading of explosives onto a Saudi ship in the port of Bilbao in what was the second such incident of armaments manufactured in Spain being shipped to Saudi Arabia for possible use by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

In December, a Saudi vessel was similarly allowed to dock in the Valencian port of Sagunto and onload munitions that anti-war activists said would ultimately be destined for the Yemeni War, where Saudi Arabia has been accused of indiscriminate bombing against the Yemeni civilian population in its support of the Yemeni government led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni against Houthi revels.

► News Sources: Público, Digital Sevilla and El País …

According to the Basque NGO Etorri Errefuxiatuak, the Saudi flagged Bahri Yanbu onloaded cargo containers labelled “explosives” on Monday in the presence of emergency fire crews from the port of Bilbao, on hand to guard against any explosions and fires in the loading process.

The Armas Bajo Control (“Arms Under Control”) coalition that includes Amnesty International España, Greenpeace España, Oxfam Intermón and Catalonia-based FundiPau, have said that Spanish armaments manufacturers sold 728.5 million euros worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia between 2015 and June 2017, much of it destined for use by the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen.

Spanish manufacturers of military weaponry and munitions have lately begun to complain that their industry is entering a crisis, because of a refusal since November 2018 of the Socialist government of President Pedro Sánchez to approve any new contracts with Saudi Arabia.

In early February, Spanish multinational explosives manufacturer Maxam filed a request with the government to enable it to receive retraining subsidies for up to 100 employees that it says it intends to make redundant, blaming the layoffs in part on a “change in the export policy of defense material by the Government” to Saudi Arabia.

► Click to read more news about Spanish arms sales to Saudi Arabia …

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