Published On: Wed, Mar 7th, 2018

Protests outside UK Parliament ahead of Saudi Crown Prince’s visit

London: Protestors recreated grisly scenes of war outside the Houses of Parliament in London, urging Prime Minister Theresa May to pressure Saudi Arabias Crown Prince to halt his country’s bombing campaign in Yemen, as he was slated to arrive here on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

Conservative Party and the royal family will be rolling out the red carpet for the Crown Prince

The demonstration was organised by Avaaz, a civic platform that among other causes promotes human rights. One person was dressed up as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, tossing replica child-sized body bags onto a heap as another activist, dressed as May, counted a stack of cash.

“Theresa May: Only 6 per cent support UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia; May: Tell Saudi Prince — stop the slaughter, start peace talks!” were the choice slogans emblazoned on the side of a white van next to the protest, Efe news reported.

The ruling Conservative Party and the royal family will be rolling out the red carpet for the Crown Prince.

The trip is the Crown Prince’s first foreign tour as heir to the Saudi throne and is seen as his chance to project the kingdom as a “reforming youthful society determined to take up its status as a major G20 economic power”.

He will hold talks with May and have lunch with the Queen and dinner with Prince Charles and Prince William.

A coalition of UK human rights groups also planned to demonstrate outside Downing Street, calling out rights abuses in the kingdom, as well as the UK government’s arms sales and support for Riyadh’s intervention in the war in Yemen which killed thousands.

Despite the demonstrations, however, British officials said they hoped to capitalise on the Saudi economy’s opening up.

Saudi efforts to diversify the economy away from oil revenues will provide new opportunities for British firms in health, technology, entertainment, sport and education, the Guardian reported.

Both Saudi and UK officials were expecting handshakes on bilateral contracts worth more than $100 million over 10 years.

The Crown Prince is credited with kick-starting domestic reforms in the ultra-conservative desert kingdom such as the upcoming lifting of the ban on women driving and the re-opening of commercial cinemas after 35 years as well as tackling corruption within the government and the ruling Al Saud family.

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