Canadians protest arms sale to Saudi Arabia

Canada’s role in the Saudi led war in Yemen has sparked fresh protest in the province of Ontario as members of World Beyond War and Labor Against the Arms Trade blocked trucks outside a transportation firm that ships light armored vehicles (LAV) to Saudi Arabia.

Two Saudi light armored vehicles (LAVs) destroyed by the Houthis in an August offensive. Unverified reports identify them as Canadian-made LAVs

Demonstrators blocked Paddock Transport International trucks in Hamilton, a city about 70 kilometers west of Toronto, for a few hours yesterday as part of a global day of action against the ongoing war in Yemen.

The protest group condemned the firm in a press release saying that it’s aiding “the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has killed almost a quarter of a million people.” It’s also calling on Ottawa to end arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Simon Black, a professor at Brock University and lead organizer with Labor Against the Arms Trade who participated in the protest, told Al Jazeera: “We’re saying very clearly to any company who is complicit in arms exports to Saudi Arabia and therefore complicit in the war on Yemen and the humanitarian crisis there, that there will be economic costs that you will face.”

Ottawa’s role in the Saudi led campaign backed by the West has been sharply criticized. In September a UN panel of independent experts monitoring the conflict and investigating possible war crimes by the combatants publicly named Canada as one of the countries that was “perpetuating the conflict” in Yemen by selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

Around 233,000 people have been killed in the war to date, according to the United Nations, which warned in December that the window to prevent famine in Yemen was narrowing, as many faced record highs of acute food insecurity. Eighty percent of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN says.