World Bulletin / News Desk
Organised by Stop The War Coalition and Hands Off Yemen, hundreds of demonstrators stood outside Downing Street holding placards that read “Crown Prince not welcome. Stop arms sale to Saudi Arabia” and “Bin Salman is a War Criminal”.
Labour MP, Chris Williamson, said that Saudi Arabia has breached human rights not only with its military operations in the region but also with its domestic policies. He went on to further criticise the Tory government for welcoming the prince.
Williamson, speaking to al-Jazeera said that he was “absolutely appalled with the humanitarian disaster that is being perpetrated in Yemen by the Saudi regime and it is being made possible by the armament of this country"
The Crown Prince along with May and other British officials are expected to discuss security and defence cooperation as well as business and investment between the two Kingdoms.
The U.K. has been an historic arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, gaining lucrative deals that number in the billions. However, in recent years, the government has come under increasing scrutiny over its support in the western backed and Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Early on Wednesday, the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, criticised the Prime Minister and her government’s lack of criticism of the Saudi regime, arguing that “it cannot be right that the U.K.government is colluding in what the United Nations says is evidence of war crimes”.
The Prime Minister, however, defended her government’s relationship with the Kingdom, arguing that the U.K. has played an influential role in bringing to light the many issues the Kingdom faces.
“The Prime Minister raised our deep concerns at the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The Prime Minister and Crown Prince agreed on the importance of full and unfettered humanitarian and commercial access, including through the ports, and that a political solution was ultimately the only way to end the conflict and humanitarian suffering in Yemen” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
Over 10,000 civilians have been killed in the war in Yemen with over eight million at risk of starvation and famine since the Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on the country’s main ports.