By Peter Lazenby in Britain:
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Protesters to demonstrate against Saudi Crown Prince’s state visit
PROTESTERS are preparing to mobilise after the government confirmed today it is to welcome the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to Britain.
Downing Street confirmed that the four-day visit will start on March 7 despite the Saudi regime’s position as one of the world’s most repressive and bloodthirsty.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is touted as a “progressive” for allowing women to drive and permitting films to be shown in cinemas.
Saudi women have to thank their own courageous actions, persistent in spite of floggings and imprisonment by the regime, for permission to drive at last. No thanks to the absolute monarchy which had to give in at last.
Downing Street has hailed the visit, saying it would “usher in a new era in bilateral relations” between Britain and Saudi Arabia.
Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain already benefits from its relationship with Saudi Arabia, which offers “substantial opportunities for British companies”, including billions of pounds in arms sales.
Saudi Arabia continues to wage war on the population of neighbouring Yemen, now stricken with a cholera outbreak and threatened with famine, using British-made weapons including fighter-bomber jets.
Death sentences in Saudi Arabia are common against people for simply peacefully protesting against the regime’s repression.
The Stop the War Coalition says it will picket the visit and appealed to supporters to make clear the “chief architect of Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen” is not welcome in London.
Among others opposing the visit is international human rights organisation Reprieve.
Director Maya Foa said: “Since his appointment as crown prince, the final death sentences of protesters, including a number who were children at the time, have been confirmed amid serious allegations of torture and an unprecedented number of executions.
“Meanwhile the close relationship Theresa May trumpets has led to British police officers training Saudi agents in the kind of cyber-monitoring techniques which have been used to justify death sentences.
“The Prime Minister must make clear that no UK assistance can continue until the crown prince abolishes the death penalty for protest-related offences and immediately reviews the cases of all those facing imminent execution.”
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: “Time and time again, UK ministers have turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights record, barely mentioning the country’s crackdown on peaceful opposition figures or the alarming prevalence of torture, unfair trials and grisly executions.”