Saudi cars vandalised in London on Yemen war anniversary

Saudi cars vandalised in London on Yemen war anniversary
3 min read
26 March, 2018
Images have surfaced on social media of Saudi-owned cars being the target of a graffiti campaign on the third anniversary of the kingdom's Yemen military offensive.
Images and videos show cars with Saudi number plate vandalised with 'war' graffitied on [Twitter]
Saudi cars, a frequent sight in London's expensive boroughs, have been hit by a spate of vandalism over the kingdom's role in the Yemen war.

Images have surfaced on social media showing cars with Saudi number plates in London vandalised with graffiti, ahead of the third anniversary of the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, which was marked on Monday.

Cars were sprayed with messages such as "war" and "Ya Ali" as they were left parked in the streets of London. "Ya Ali, Oh Ali", is a phrase associated with Shia Muslims.

In one video, the user can be heard saying, "I parked the car for a minute in Sloane (Square), look what the son of a b**** did".

In another video, the passenger of a 4x4 vehicle appears to be hit with a spray can after he stops to confront a man who is seen spraying graffiti on another vehicle.

Saudi Arabia has played a lead role in the aerial bombing campaign in support of the Yemeni government against the Iranian-backed Zaydi-Shia Houthi rebels.

The Houthis expelled pro-government forces from the capital Sanaa in September 2014, and went on to seize swathes of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

This prompted the Saudi-led coalition to intervene militarily on 26 March 2015. Protests in Houthi-controlled Sanaa have been held on Monday.

Since then, around 10,000 people have been killed and 53,000 wounded in Yemen.

The war has created what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis with both sides, particularly Saudi Arabia, criticised for their role in the war.

While Iran is said to back the Houthi rebels, the UK and US have continued to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, drawing strong and sustained criticism from rights groups due to alleged war crimes committed by the Saudi-led military coalition.

In a recent statement, Amnesty International said that US and UK arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen made a "mockery" of global arms treaties and has resulted in "enormous harm" to civilians, agencies reported. 

"But this has not deterred the USA, the UK and other states, including France, Spain and Italy, from continuing transfers of billions of dollars' worth of such arms," said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's Middle East research director.

Despite this, the UK has repeatedly voiced its support for Saudi Arabia, with Johnson saying earlier this month that Riyadh has "a right to defend its national security".