BREAKING: Activists protest at Lockheed Martin facility on anniversary of Yemen school bus massacre, demand Canada stop arming Saudi Arabia

Media Contacts:
World BEYOND War: Rachel Small, Canada Organizer, canada@worldbeyondwar.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2021

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Activists are protesting outside Lockheed Martin’s Dartmouth facility to mark the third anniversary of the Yemen school bus massacre. The Saudi bombing of a school bus in a crowded market in northern Yemen on August 9, 2018 killed 44 children and ten adults and wounded many more. The bomb used in the airstrike was made by weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American company Lockheed Martin.

“Three years ago today an entire school bus of children was slaughtered by a 500-pound Lockheed Martin bomb. I’m here at Lockheed Martin’s facility today with my young child, the same age as many of the kids on that bus, to hold this company accountable for the death of these 44 children and ensure they are not forgotten,” said Rachel Small of World BEYOND War.

Now in its sixth year, the Saudi-led war on Yemen has killed almost a quarter of a million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It’s also led to what the UN body has called the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

Peace activists are marking the anniversary of the Yemen school bus bombing across the country. In Ontario activists are protesting outside General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, a London-area company manufacturing light armoured vehicles (LAVs) for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Peace pickets are also taking place outside Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office in Vancouver and Liberal MP Chris Bittle’s office in St. Catharines.

Last week, it was revealed that Canada approved a new deal to sell $74 -million worth of explosives to Saudi Arabia in 2020. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has exported over $1.2 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. In 2019, Canada exported arms valued at $2.8 billion to the Kingdom — more than 77 times the dollar value of Canadian aid to Yemen in the same year. Arms exports to Saudi Arabia now account for over 75% of Canada’s non-US military exports.

“A child in Yemen will die every 75 seconds this year because of the ongoing war, according to the World Food Programme. As a parent, I can’t just stand by and allow Canada to keep profiting off of this war by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia,” said Sakura Saunders, a board member of World BEYOND War. “It’s despicable that Canada continues to fuel a war that has led to the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet and heavy civilian casualties in Yemen.”

Last fall, Canada was for the first time publicly named as one of the countries helping to fuel the war in Yemen by a panel of independent experts monitoring the conflict for the UN and investigating possible war crimes by the combatants, including Saudi Arabia.

“For Trudeau to enter into this election claiming to have run a ‘feminist foreign policy’ is patently absurd given this government’s unwavering commitment to sending billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Saudia Arabia, a country infamous for its human rights record and systematic oppression of women. The Saudi arms deal is the exact opposite of a feminist approach to foreign policy,” said Joan Smith from Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace.

Over 4 million people have been displaced because of the war, and 80% of the population, including 12.2 million children, are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. This same assistance has been thwarted by the Saudi-led coalition’s land, air, and naval blockade of the country. Since 2015, this blockade has prevented food, fuel, commercial goods, and aid from entering Yemen.

Follow twitter.com/wbwCanada and twitter.com/hashtag/CanadaStopArmingSaudi for photos, videos, and updates from Halifax and across the country.

Additional photos available upon request.

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