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Articles from the Peace News log: Yemen

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

A Yemen-related nonviolent direct action near Birmingham.

People's Weapons Inspectors, Roxel missile components factory, 9 April 2018On 9 April, the People's Weapons Inspectors visited a Roxel factory which builds propulsion systems for missiles. Their aim was to carry out a 'people's weapons inspection', to find out whether parts built at this factory (near Kidderminster in Worcestershire) might be used by the Saudi military in the war in Yemen.

The inspectors believed that the factory was manufacturing components for Brimstone missiles that are due to be exported to Saudi Arabia for use on Saudi Tornado jets. Ekklesia reported: 'The People’s Weapons Inspectors, some from ecumenical Christian peace group, Put Down The Sword, decided that they had to act when on 12 March 2018, an order in progress for one thousand Brimstone missiles for Tornado jets appeared on the Stockholm International Peace Resaerch Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Database.' Inspectors came not only from the Christian-Quaker direct action group Put Down the Sword, but from the London Catholic Worker

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Andrea Needham reports on the recent trial of Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse in Burnley

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Sam and Woody with supporters outside the court

Poor old British Aerospace. Not only were the first group of people to break in to their Warton site in Lancashire to disarm a warplane acquitted, now the second lot have also been found not guilty. It's curious how difficult it appears to be to convict people for acting peacefully to prevent war crimes.

The first such disarmament action took place in January 1996, when a group of women (myself included) broke in and disarmed a Hawk warplane being sold to Indonesia for use in their brutal war on the people of East Timor. Six months later, all of us were acquitted by a jury, having made the defence that we were simply using reasonable force to prevent crime, as allowed in British law.

The serial number on the casing was visible, showing that the bomb was made by Raytheon in Glenrothes, Scotland, after the war against Yemen started.

The second action took place exactly 21 years later (the date was a happy coincidence), when Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse broke in with the intention of disarming Typhoon, Tornado and Hawk warplanes which BAE is selling to Saudi Arabia. As we all know, Saudi Arabia is pursuing a brutal war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of civilian deaths. The almost total destruction of the infrastructure of the country has caused the biggest outbreak of cholera in recorded history, and millions of people are on the verge of starvation. Yet BAE continues to sell warplanes, other British companies sell bombs, and the British government falls over itself to appease the fragile Saudi ego, touchy as the rulers are about accusations of war crimes.

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