The demonstration organized by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) took place on Saturday.
The campaigners expressed their outrage over UK’s continuing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which had been leading a coalition engaged in a brutal aggression against Yemen since 2015. The conflict has already resulted in over 14,000 killed, mostly civilians especially women and children while resulting in a dire humanitarian situation in the country.
Ian Pocock, a spokesman for the CAAT, said London was “complicit in the assault on Yemen”, calling on British citizens to protest against the government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
“They (the UK government) have sold 1.6 billion pounds (over $2 billion) worth of weapons to the Saudi regime since the war began in March 2015, so we want to see the government put an end to this profiteering for the sake of all the deaths and devastation it has caused in one of the world’s poorest countries,” he said.
Stephen Bell, spokesman for the British activist group Stop the War Coalition, said the UK government was “completely aligned, along with the US government, with the Saudi-led coalition.”
In January, UK campaigners presented an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to cancel a planned state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud precisely due to the situation in Yemen.
British weapons sales to Saudi Arabia have been a sore point for human rights campaigners for some years.
British sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia topped £1.1bn in the first half of last year, with government data showing a spike in sales since the spring.
The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, says the huge sums were “shameful profiteering by the arms companies from a conflict which has killed thousands of civilians and subjected millions to famine and disease”.
Swinson said the government should immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi, regardless of the cost. “There is no justification for the UK to continue selling billions of pounds’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia while they continue their operation in Yemen,” she added.