Two Royal Military Police officers have arrested a serving British Army soldier after he staged a protest about Britain’s involvement in the war in Yemen.
Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati was detained on Monday 25th August after protesting in uniform outside of the Ministry of Defence in central London.
He was objecting to the provision of weapons and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia by the British government and arms companies.
In a message recorded before the protest and posted on social media, L/Cpl Al-Babati said that he could no longer continue to serve in the army, ‘given Britain’s material support for the Saudi bombing of Yemen’.
Al-Babati said he was born in Yemen and joined the British army in 2017.
The insignia on his uniforms suggests that Al-Babati is a lance corporal from the 14 Signals Regiment (Electronic Warfare) which would mean that Al-Babati would have had to of been heavily vetted before joining his regiment in his current role.
Electronic Warfare specialists are responsible for intercepting and jamming communication and detection equipment – such as radar and early warning equipment – used by the enemy.
Explaining his reasons for the protest via a video that was shared on social media, Al-Babati said:
“Yemen is facing the worst humanitarian crisis… due to years of war.
“This proxy war is led by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia are responsible for multiple airstrikes, killing innocents, targeting hospitals and breaking international law. Saudi Arabia are also responsible for blocking aid from going into the country.
“This has left 80% of the population in need of emergency aid. That’s 24 million people in need of emergency aid. Yet our government continues to arm and support Saudi Arabia.
“We tried to make our voices heard by protesting in London, Manchester, Liverpool and many other cities. We’ve even tried to email our MPs, but clearly our words mean nothing to Boris Johnson.
“And it’s clear this government has blood on their hands, so with that being said I refuse to continue my military service until the arms trade with Saudi Arabia has been put to an end.
“It is reported that a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen, so I’ll be standing outside 10 Downing Street blowing a whistle every 10 minutes so that they can hear every time a child dies due to a war they continue to arm and support.”
Current rules and regulations in the armed forces prevent serving personnel from taking part in any protest whilst in their uniform.
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