Despite protests from Spanish peace and anti-war activists, a Saudi Arabian cargo ship was allowed to dock and onload munitions in the Valencian port of Sagunto on Tuesday, before setting sail hours later for Genoa, where dockworkers have said they will stop the ship from loading arms or munitions that could be used in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The Saudi Arabian flagged “Bahri Abha” docked in Sagunto Tuesday afternoon over the protests from peace and anti-war groups because of the possibility that the ship could be carrying weapons and ammunition to be used in the civil war in Yemen, in which a Saudi-led coalition has been accused of human rights violations for alleged indiscriminate bombing that targets Yemeni civilians.
The Socialist-led Sagunto municipal council also expressed concern, calling on the Spanish government to clarify whether the ship would be onloading Spanish-manufactured arms at the port, but said the government had not responded with any information related to the ship’s cargo.
In a statement, the Sagunto council said “We strongly reject that our seaport is used for the international transport of weapons that may end in military conflicts, as well as for the conduct of military maneuvers”.
Joining in the non-violent protests at the port were a number of anti-war and environmentalist groups, who displayed banners with the slogans “Stop War” and “La Guerra Comença Ací” (War Begins Here).
Also protesting were members of Armas Bajo Control (“Arms Under Control”), a coalition that includes Amnesty International España, Greenpeace España, Oxfam Intermón and Catalonia-based FundiPau. According to the coalition, 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.
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