In meeting with Welby, Saudi crown prince vows to promote religious freedom

A march welcoming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in London

Protestors recreated grisly scenes of war outside the Houses of Parliament in London, urging Prime Minister Theresa May to pressure Saudi Arabias Crown Prince to halt his country's bombing campaign in Yemen, as he was slated to arrive here on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

Protesters waving flags and placards stood outside the gates of Downing Street this afternoon as Prince Salman's motorcade swept past.

Crown Prince Mohammed said the dispute with Qatar could be long-lasting, comparing it to the USA embargo of Cuba imposed 60 years ago, but played down its impact, dismissing the Gulf emirate as "smaller than a Cairo street".

The Prime Minister also raised the situation in Yemen with the Saudi royal. During his three-day visit, the heir to the Saudi throne will meet other senior royals and dine with the Queen's son and grandson, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Early on Wednesday, the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, criticised the Prime Minister and her government's lack of criticism of the Saudi regime, arguing that "it can not be right that the U.K.government is colluding in what the United Nations says is evidence of war crimes".

Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

British lives have also been saved by Saudi intelligence, as is quickly forgotten by those who question Saudi Arabia's value to the UK.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been heavily criticised by some politicians and campaigners, who have accused him of funding extremism in the United Kingdom and carrying out human-rights abuses domestically and in Yemen.

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London taxis display advertising graphics welcoming Prince Mohammed and electronic billboards promote the visit.

Defense remains a vital partnership between the two countries as Britain is Saudi Arabia's second-biggest supplier of defense equipment and London-based based BAE Systems has been waiting for a follow-on order for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet after the initial Al-Yamamah sale of 72 of the warplanes in 2006.

If this rate continues (on average just over 16 per month), 2018 could see 200 executions, the highest number of executions ever recorded in Saudi Arabia in one year.

Yet, according to statistics compiled by the Campaign Against Arms Trade, the United Kingdom has licensed 4.6 billion pounds worth of weapons sales to Riyadh since the conflict began, with the STWC citing the presence of British advisers directly involved in the military campaign.

Despite the demonstrations, however, British officials said they hoped to capitalise on the Saudi economy's opening up.

Successive British governments have often claimed that various Saudi monarchs are reformers, yet today in Saudi Arabia you can not join a political party, you can not join a trade union, there is no freedom of assembly, and political prisoners are subject to torture, whipping and also execution.

May said all arms sales were strictly regulated, that Saudi Arabia's involvement in the conflict was backed by the UN Security Council and her government supported it.

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