Belgian activists shut down factory arming Saudi Arabia

Last Friday activists in Belgium shut down an arms factory with a thirteen hour rooftop occupation. The Advionics arms company in Oostkamps is producing components that are being used in the Saudi Eurofighter Typhoon jets.

A group of people stand on a building rooftop with a big banner

The activists climbed on the roof of the factory early Friday morning, put up banners and set up their tents. They were calling for an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and that the Flemish government fixes the loopholes in the Flemish arms export laws.

The Flemish Peace Institute, an independent research institute, revealed that the radars produced by Advionics were originally exported to Germany but then ended up in Saudi Arabia. The Flemish government didn’t have any knowledge at all about the final destination of the radars.

“The radars produced by Advionics are being used to bomb Yemen. The Saudi led coalition bombs hospitals, refugee camps and other infrastructure […] We refuse to leave this roof until the Flemish government stops exporting these weapons”, said one of the activists.

During a radio interview earlier this year Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois claimed he knows where Flemish arms exports end up. But in reality, in 2015, 69,4% of the use of Flemish arms was unknown.

The activists were eventually removed by police.

A longer version of this article originally appeared on Vredesactie’s website

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