Activists arrested after blocking entrance to Boeing’s St. Charles facility

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ST. CHARLES , Mo. – A group of activists blocked both entrances to Boeing Defense Building 598 in St. Charles facility Monday morning.

The demonstrators said they’re standing in solidarity with the people of Yemen, who they claim were murdered by weapons supplied by Boeing and other weapons manufacturers. Their stated goal was to stop work at the facility.

A statement from Boeing said employees were being directed to use an alternate entrance to the grounds.

Two protestors chained themselves to the bus and said they were targeting the St. Charles location, claiming the company was responsible for manufacturing smart bomb kits similar to the one used in the bombing in Yemen.

“We are here today in solidarity with our victims in Yemen,” activist Phillip Flagg said in a statement. “To the people of Yemen I’d like to say that we have heard your cries and that you are not alone. On the contrary, it seems clear to me that both the Yemeni and American people share a common enemy in the United States government and the corporations that control it. The same corporate state that is responsible for your suffering in Yemen is responsible for our suffering, from Flint to Ferguson, to the bayous of Louisiana.”

The demonstrators did not offer a list of demands to Boeing. Instead they wanted to motivate others to, “to act boldly and nonviolently to force an end to the criminal actions of the United States and its allies.”

Lt. Tom Wilkison, a spokesman for the St. Charles Police Department, said officers were called to the scene around 5:25 a.m. The St. Charles SWAT team responded and cut the protestors, a 21-year-old woman and 24-year-old man, from their restraints. They were taken into police custody and the bus was towed away.

Yemen airstrike kills 22 children fleeing earlier bombing, rebels say 

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed 30 people, including 22 children, in a rebel-held area in northwestern Yemen on Thursday, according to the Houthi-controlled Health Ministry.

Four families were evacuating their homes in a vehicle when the airstrikes hit, according to Houthi-owned media. Earlier coalition airstrikes on Wednesday killed four people and injured two, according to two surviving family members who preferred to remain anonymous for security reasons.

“Four people were killed in the strike before, that’s why they fled. They wanted to save their lives, their children’s lives. Is nowhere safe for us?”  one survivor said.

Both sources did not want to be named out of fear for their safety.

Thursday’s airstrikes hit al-Duraihmi district, some 20 kilometers from the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, the latest flashpoint in Yemen’s ongoing war. The International Rescue Committee said airstrikes in al-Duraihmi city on Wednesday killed 13 people.

“Anything that moves dies,” one resident of al-Duraihmi who didn’t want to be named for security reasons told CNN. The area’s proximity to the strategic city of Hodeidah has turned it into a major battleground, sustaining repeated airstrikes in recent days.

Houthi-held Hodeidah city, considered a humanitarian lifeline to millions of Yemenis, is a main rebel gateway to the Red Sea. Coalition-backed forces have sought to wrest control of it since June.

Earlier this month, a Saudi-led airstrike hit a school bus carrying scores of boys in Yemen. The attack killed 51 people, including 40 children, according to the Houthi-held Health Ministry. CNN has established that the bomb used in the attack was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.

The Saudi-led coalition did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the Thursday airstrike.

Houthi rebels also launched an attack in the same area on Thursday, according to UAE state media. A ballistic missile struck a village recently recaptured by the coalition-backed Yemeni national government, killing one child and injuring dozens, the UAE statement said.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have led a military campaign since March 2015 to quash Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

There have been growing calls in the US Congress for Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East, to do more to prevent civilian deaths in Yemen, where three years of conflict have taken a terrible toll.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump signed a defense spending bill that includes a clause requiring the Pentagon and State Department to certify that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another key coalition member, are doing enough to reduce civilian casualties. This report must be submitted to Congress within 180 days and then annually for the next two years.

The war in Yemen is now the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people — three-quarters of the population — in desperate need of aid and protection, according to the United Nations.

More than 10,000 civilians have died and 40,000 have been wounded in the war, which reportedly has left 15 million Yemenis without access to clean water.

“Children continue to be victims of intense and senseless violence in Yemen. Where does this cruelty end? Stop the war on children in Yemen!” UN children’s agency (UNICEF) Regional director in the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement on Friday.

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