As welcoming ceremonies were underway for the Saudi crown prince, anti-war activists rallied near Parliament and said they would protest later outside the gates of Downing Street against Riyadh and London’s roles in the war on Yemen.
London has also been bedecked all over with portraits of the crown prince bearing complimentary messages. The royal’s pictures have even been plastered on taxicabs, prompting social media users to say the British capital is now looking like Riyadh. In a counter-measure by anti-Saudi activists, buses have spent two days touring London with banners accusing bin Salman of war crimes.
May defended Britain’s links to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government. The military aggression has so far killed over 13,600 Yemenis. The war is being led by bin Salman, also Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, with the help of the US and the UK.
In a fiery exchange with opposition lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May defended the country’s military links to Saudi Arabia, saying Saudi intelligence sharing has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of British lives.
Although May noted that she would raise humanitarian concerns about Yemen in his meeting with bin Salman, she stressed that all arms sales to Saudi Arabia were strictly regulated. She underlined her government’s support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, noting that the campaign has been supported by the UN Security Council.
May’s government has remained defiant in the face of growing pressure to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, defending the sales amid evidence of war crimes and civilian deaths in Yemen. The UK has increased its weapons sales by around 500 percent since the onset of the Saudi invasion, according to a report by The Independent. The UK has, so far, sold more than six billion pounds of arms to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia and Britain have decided to finalize a multi-billion-dollar deal for the sale of 48 Typhoon aircraft to Riyadh, despite massive protests against London’s arms supply to the Arab kingdom during its deadly war against Yemen.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Friday, military equipment maker BAE Systems said it signed the preliminary order from Saudi Arabia for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, without providing any financial details
Amnesty International UK’s Director Kate Allen slammed the agreement, saying, “Selling more fighter planes to a country leading a military coalition that is already laying waste to homes, hospitals and schools in Yemen, is just adding fuel to a humanitarian fire.”
Britain credits Saudi intelligence sharing with saving British lives and has licensed billions of pounds of weapons and ammunition sales to Saudi Arabia.
“This programme was produced by Aparat Ltd for Press TV”