In Marseilles, dockers refuse to load French weapons heading to Saudi Arabia.
Following revelations on cargo headed for Saudi Arabia, the port's CGT branch confirmed its members would not handle "any weapons or arms whatsoever, for whatever war they may be destined"
They want to remain loyal to their history.
A few hours before the dockers' announcement, Disclose revealed that the Saudi container ship Bahri Tabuk was meant to take a delivery of ammunition for Caesar [howitzer] guns.
According to the media outlet, the boat was heading for the port of Jeddah, despite accusations of the Islamic monarchy using French-made weapons on civilian areas in Yemen. Since 2015 the country has been trapped in a civil war fought between the government and Houthi rebels, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians according to humanitarian NGOs.
The ship-owner has dismissed the claims as "fake news". According to France 3, the CGT's secretary general for the dockers the port of Marseille Fos, Laurent Fos, stated: "we will never load weapons which are used to kill civilians". The dockers rep then stated "We have asked the supplier and * for official documents proving that we are handling civilian goods, and not under any circumstance military goods".
The position of the dockers over the incident is not an isolated instance: on the 20th of Mai, Italian dockers striked in Genoa in order to prevent the loading of any items destined for military purposes.
Outside of these instances, concerns over similar cargo heading towards the port of Le Havre on the tenth of May led to a blockade organised by political, civil society and humanitarian groups.
The dockers' mentions of their history and values of peace stem from organising against imperialism since well before the civil war in Yemen.
In the middle of the Indochina war in 1949, the port of Marseilles, a key point for loading of troops and military equipment, had already been a part of this "reality of conflict", dubbed so by the ONACVG (National Office of Veterans and Victims of War).
In November of the same year, dockers refused to load the Montbeliard and the Cap Tourane, two boats headed for the former French colony. On the 8th of December, a dockers' conference agreed to prevent all cargo headed to Indochina from leaving multiple Mediteranean ports: Sete, Nice, Port-de-Bouc, Port-Saint-Louis, Port Vendre, Toulon, and Marseille.
"Even to this day, the pain [of the conflict] endures in the memory of those that lived through it, whatever their opinions of the time are, and marks the deep divisions created by the Indochina war and its effect on the public conscience.
Translation from the French: https://t.co/t5JOaeURQD