Activists across Europe resist arms shipment to Saudi Arabia

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A banner reading "port closed to war, port open to migrants" in Italian, hanging off a fence
"Port closed to war, port open to migrants". Source twitter/@EkimKilic

Unionised dock workers and activists from the from Potero al Popolo (PaP) anti-fascist and pacifist group in Genoa, Italy, have refused to load a Saudi ship – the Bahri-Yanbu - carrying weapons to Saudi Arabia, demanding the Italian government “open the ports to people and close them to arms.”

The workers held a protest and attempted to prevent the boat from docking, before refusing to load electricity generators onto the ship. The workers argued that doing so would contravene the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty, because the generators could be used for military purposes in the four year war between a Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels.

The Bahri-Yanbu left the Belgian port of Antwerp, loaded with weapons, in early May, also visiting Bremen in Germany, and the United Kingdom. It was then due to collect a consignment of eight Caesar howitzer cannons in the French port of Le Havre on 10th May. A French human rights group tried to stop the shipment. Despite a judge throwing out the legal challenge, the ship left the port without the weapons.

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