Friday, January 8, 2016

Protesters in Canada oppose $10.5bn deal with Saudi Arabia

 Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of the Canadian capital demanding that the government cancel a multibillion arms deal with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the execution of 47 prisoners, including a Shia religious leader.

Up to 500 people gathered at the Saudi embassy in Ottawa, Ontario, on Wednesday, outraged by the execution of 47 prisoners convicted on terrorism charges, including influential Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The protesters were calling on Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau to cancel the CAD$15 billion ($10.5bn) arms deal with Saudi Arabia and thus demonstrate discontent with the clamant human rights abuses, even though the move would harm Canada’s economic interests. 

“We’re here today to ask the government to rethink its policy when it comes to Saudi Arabia. The hypocrisy has to stop,” said Toronto Imam Asad Jafri, according the Ottawa Citizen.

“They killed our leader, our scholar al-Nimr, for no reason, and our government is quiet? The deal speaks more loudly than their words. It’s a shame, it’s upsetting, especially when Trudeau’s platform was all about change,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, however, shrugged off the idea of reconsidering the contract in an interview to CBC News on Tuesday.

“What is done is done and the contract is not something that we'll revisit,” Dion said...

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