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Senator lauds Genoa port protest over Saudi ship

20 maggio 2019 | 18.41
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Gianluca Ferrara

The Italian upper house of parliament's foreign affairs committee chairman on Monday praised unions at the port of Genoa's refusal to load electricity generators onto a weapons-carrying Saudi vessel in a protest against the war in Yemen.

"I congratulate the dockers and those who organised the protest at the port of Genoa on their success in preventing the electricity generators from being loaded,"Gianluca Ferrara said in a statement.

Monday's "pacifist" gesture "should be also be reflected in the actions of the Italian state, which "should shun any complicity in a criminal war like that in Yemen," Ferrara's statement went on.

The statement cited a 1990 Italian law that prohibits the transportation and loading of weaponry, saying Ferrara had tabled a bill in the Italian Senate to strengthen the legislation.

Unions in Genoa had tried to get the Saudi Bahri-Yanbu boat banned from Italy after it loaded arms in the Belgian city of Antwerp earlier this month. Rights campaigners say the weapons breach a United Nations treaty because they could be used against civilians in Yemen, where a Saudi-led military coalition is fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in a devastating war.

Union workers refused to load the two generators on to the Bahri-Yanbu, saying that although they were registered for civilian use, they could be instead directed to the Yemen war effort.

The Saudi-led coalition, which receives weapons and other support from western countries, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi from the capital, Sanaa.

The four-year conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of the them civilians and has left much of the population on the brink of famine.

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