There were only 5 anti-cluster bomb activists who attended Thursday’s weekly protest against Textron for making them. But those 5 activists handed out some 50 pieces of literature explaining the civilian death and destruction cluster bombs have caused in Yemen this year to people walking by Textron’s world headquarters in downtown Providence.
One of the reasons there were fewer protesters today is several members of the FANG Collective, the original organizers of the weekly Textron protests, were in court for civil disobedience against Invenergy, the corporation proposing a new fossil fuel power plant in Burrillville.
FANG organizer Pia Ward instead canvassed 15 nearby businesses the day before.
“I went to cafes, restaurants, a jewelry store – all different kinds of businesses,” Ward said. “Nobody was supportive of cluster bombs.”
One person Ward spoke with took many fliers and said he would help distribute them. Another said Textron was too big and too powerful to stop. “I promised him I would stop them,” Ward said.
Rhode Island-based Textron has come under scrutiny for making cluster bombs the US sells to Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented civilian casualties in Yemen from cluster bombs, which are banned by 119 nations but not by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Textron is the only North American manufacturer of cluster bombs.
Human Rights Watch and Foreign Policy magazine have each reported that the United States is slated to halt sales of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.
“The decision not to transfer any more cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia is a step in the right direction, but the US should halt all cluster munition transfers to any country and make that suspension permanent,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “This would help bring the US into line with core obligations of the international treaty banning cluster munitions.”
A Textron spokesman said the company would not comment on the new US policy before it gets official confirmation from the government. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the policy change on MSNBC on Wednesday.
- Human Rights Watch condemns use of Textron-made cluster bomb (Feb. 24)
- Textron still makes cluster bombs despite downward global, US trends (Feb. 29)
- Textron sold cluster bombs to seven foreign governments (March 4)
- What US company made the bomb that killed 97 civilians in Yemen (April 8)
- Quaker group to protests Textron for selling cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia (April 11)
- Textron plays leading role in Middle East violence (April 11)
- CODEPINK, peace groups join campaign against cluster bombs (April 15)
- Peace activists call attention to Textron cluster bombs (April 19)
- Anti-cluster bomb activists arrested for chaining themselves to Textron headquarters
- Photo Essay (April 21)
- Human Rights Watch finds evidence of Textron cluster bomb in Yemen (May 6)
- Anti-Textron actions to happen weekly in Providence, RI (May 16)
- Quakers, radicals, others protest Textron cluster bombs (May 19)
- Amnesty International targets Textron, locals target Textron investors (May 24)
- Pia Ward’s personal connection to cluster bomb casualties (May 26)
- Textron’s Scott Donnelly is 2nd highest paid CEO in RI at $12.2 million (May 27)
- Report says US to stop selling cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia (May 28)