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21 years on: solidarity with the disarmers

Andrea Needham writes: On 29 January 1996, I was one of a group of women who disarmed a Hawk warplane at BAE’s Warton factory in Lancashire. The plane was destined for Indonesia, where it would be used in the ongoing occupation and genocide in East Timor.

Exactly 21 years later, and now in the era of social media, I was idly perusing Facebook on a Sunday morning when I saw that two men had broken into the very same factory, with the intention of disarming warplanes being sold by BAE to Saudi Arabia, for use in their crimes against humanity in Yemen.

Andrea Needham with a copy of The Hammer Blow

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BAE Arms: Saudi Kills

Activists released on bail after attempt to disarm BAE fighter jets bound for Saudi Arabia.

Daniel Woodhouse, a Methodist minister from Leeds, and Quaker activist Sam Walton have been released on bail pending charges after breaking into BAE’s Warton site. The pair were arrested at BAE Systems’ airbase in Warton, Lancashire, in the early hours of Sunday 29 January after entering BAE Systems’ Warton site in order to disarm warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia.

Sam and Dan with hammer used 21 years ago

The aircraft are part of a multi-billion pound deal between BAE Systems and the Saudi regime, and were due to be shipped to Saudi Arabia within weeks. Their action came as a panel of UN experts warned that the devastating Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, which have caused a humanitarian catastrophe, may be part of “a broader policy of attrition against civilian infrastructure” which may “amount to war crimes.”

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Build Bridges, not Walls

Donald Trump is about to take office in the USA, and activists are challenging the regime of racist borders, unbridled corporate power and militarism that he heralds. This Friday, we’re joining the #BridgesNotWalls to drop banners from bridges across the country calling for a more peaceful and just world, free from oppression and hatred.

Come and join us on Lambeth Bridge at 8.20am on Friday 20th January, and add your voice to the call!

activsits gather around a banner reading "refugees welcome, not arms dealers"

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Charges dropped against prominent Bahraini activist

We’re delighted to say that the prosecution against prominent Bahraini activist, Isa Al Aali, who was arrested at last summer’s Farnborough arms fair protests, has been discontinued after the Crown Prosecution Service accepted that there was ‘not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction’.

activists stand with a stop the arms fair banner outside court to support Isa Al Aali

Isa was due to appear in court on January 16th, but after representations by Bindmans LLP, the CPS agreed to drop all charges. You can read a full report on the case on the Bindmans blog.