Maxam-Expal in Quintanilla Sobresierra

Fifty people from different provinces demonstrated on 28 December outside the gates of the industrial complex of the Maxam-Expal arms factory, formerly known as “Explosivos Riotinto”, now exports arms.

At three o’clock in the morning a group of runners left Santander. So did the group leaving Burgos a little later.

The runners went to the Maxam arms factory, in the municipality of Quintanilla Sobresierra, in the province of Burgos, to demand the cessation of activity related to the military industry. They covered the route in relays, passing by hand the communiqué they read next to the gate, installed during the last year in such a way that it was impossible to access the door of the facilities.

Weapons components such as howitzers and missiles are manufactured in this factory then sold to Saudi Arabia and used in the Yemeni war in violation of current legislation.

The action was convened by Jai Jagat Spain, the Burgos Platform with Refugees, the Nonviolence Collective and Pasaje Seguro Cantabria.

At 4.30 in the afternoon both groups, and sympathizers from both provinces, joined to stand in front of the entrance door to the industrial complex, to demonstrate their rejection of both the manufacture of weapons and their transport through the port of Sagunto, after the activist actions managed to stop the ports of Bilbao and Santander from admitting cargo from this factory.

Content of the press release:

We are people, human beings. Like last year, we came running from the port of Santander – and this year also from Burgos – to this arms factory to denounce the immorality that has been brewing between these two points: the manufacture and export of arms in general, and in particular to feed the war with which Saudi Arabia continues to massacre the Yemeni population.

The kilometres help us to be more aware of the suffering of our Yemeni sisters and brothers as well as the victims of any war. Fortunately, the ships have stopped loading in the ports of Bilbao and Santander, but they continue to do so with great secrecy in various ports, the last one being Sagunto on 10 December. In addition to being immoral, /these exports should be considered illegal/ if we abide by the very Spanish and European legislation on the arms trade due to the situation of instability and armed conflict in the Middle East region. As last year, we appeal to the international solidarity of the workers, remembering that we not only believe that it is possible, but a duty, to walk towards a culture of non-violence and peace from the area in which we are: history and the present make clear that current of commitment and struggle to which we want to join with this action. Many lives are at stake and as civil society we refuse to be accomplices of war crimes. Please stop feeding the war. Only blindness, short-termism and the interests of those who want to force us to choose between unemployment and death can be satisfied in the terms that have been set for the debate to date, in which compliance with the law and respect for international law must take precedence over any other argument. Aware that the war begins here, we have chosen to say with the gift of our freedom and our sweat: the violence stops here, the suppression of truth stops here, the war stops here! The future lies between non-violence and non-existence.

Signed: the runners