Dozens of anti-arms trade activists gathered at the dock of Bilbao to protest the arrival of the Saudi-owned Bahri Yanbu cargo ship on Sunday, which protesters allege is carrying weapons bound for use in the conflict in Yemen.
The ship left the French port of Cherbourg on February 6 and is expected to make an unscheduled stop in Bilbao at 16:00 local time (15:00 GMT). The shop was reportedly blocked from docking in Antwerp following protests. Authorities insist that the cargo is only going to be used for “defence purposes,” according to local media.
Footage shows protesters gathered at the dock with banners saying, “the war begins here” and flags. One protester accused the Basque government of financing weapon factories and said that wars begin “the moment weapons are manufactured, and they continue when we take up arms and export them to countries where they violate human rights.”
“Two years ago, after a very strong campaign to stop the shipments in the port of Bilbao, Bahri Yanbu [arms ship] stopped loading weapons. And now we have just learned that it is returning,” he added, referring to the blocking of the ship in May 2019 in Santander.
The ship will also be stopping in Genoa before continuing on to Saudi Arabia, having previously docked in Germany and the UK under the cover of darkness and heavy police escort.