Protesters in London object to the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Protesters in London object to the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. CrowdSpark/Ian Davidson

Yemen war protest greets Saudi Crown Prince

HUNDREDS gathered outside Downing Street to protest as British Prime Minister Theresa May held talks inside with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Protesters chanted "Hands off Yemen - stop the bombing now” and "Stop the killing” as they demanded the UK halt arms sales to the Gulf state, which has been criticised over its bombing campaign in Yemen.

Nouria Nagi, a British-Yemeni woman, said she had lost five relatives in the conflict, which has to date caused the deaths of at least 10,000 people. She said she had joined the protest to tell the Crown Prince: "Use your brain - stop the killing”.

"Nobody is getting any help or support and everybody is quiet about it. Nobody is doing anything,” she said.

Ms May was to hold further talks with the Saudi leader at Chequers overnight. The Crown Prince also met the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Downing Street said Ms May had raised the issue of human rights and the situation in Yemen with the Crown Prince.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn told the House of Commons that British ministers should be held accountable for "very large numbers of children” who had been killed and injured during Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign in Yemen.

He said the government bore responsibility for deploying British personnel to help the Saudi air force target attacks that have hit civilian areas, schools and hospitals.

Accusing the government of "directing” the conflict in the Gulf state and "colluding” in war crimes, Mr Corbyn demanded the UK suspend its support for the war and arms sales to the Saudi Government.

He said: "Germany has suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but British arms sales have sharply increased and British military advisers are directing the war.

"It cannot be right that her Government is colluding in what the United Nations says is evidence of war crimes.”

Ms May mounted a staunch defence of the relationship which, through intelligence sharing, "has saved the lives potentially of hundreds of people in this country”.

The Saudi action in Yemen was at the request of a legitimate government, backed by the UN Security Council and "as such we support it”, she said.

And she added: "Where there are allegations that activity has taken place that is not in line with international humanitarian law, they investigate that and they learn the lessons from it.”

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt also hit back, saying: "It's just not true that they are directing the war in Yemen.

"They have given advice in relation to how targeting is done, to make sure that civilians are not involved.”

The Crown Prince has also been granted rare access to a briefing on foreign policy issues, including Yemen, by national security officials.

Today, he will meet Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson for talks.

The visit comes as the London Stock Exchange also vies for the Saudi Aramco oil company to be listed in the capital, in what has been described as the biggest company float in history.

- Ben Kentish and Joe Watts, The Independent