A bloodied cockerel was projected onto the facade of the Walloon Parliament in Namur on Thursday evening as a way of protesting the Belgian region’s arms exports to countries with contested human track records.
Initiated by Amnesty International with the support of seven other organisations, this action was intended as a condemnation of Walloon arms exports to countries responsible for serious human rights violations. A projection was also visible on the Elysette, the seat of government in Wallonia.
Amnesty International’s partner organisations were ASBL National Coordinated Action for Peace and Democracy, the National Centre for Development Cooperation, Greenpeace, Handicap International, the Human Rights League, Doctors of the World and Oxfam.
Apart from the bloodied rooster, images also highlighted the message “STOP! #WallonieImmorale.”
June 21 coincides with the 7th anniversary of the Walloon decree on the import, export, transit and transfer of civilian weapons and defence-related products.
“This projection symbolises the new direction that Walloon commerce in arms must take, with a more transparent procedure for granting export licences,” the organisations explained. “With this cockerel, which is also the animal that announces daybreak, we are calling on the new parliamentary majority and on the future government of Wallonia to no longer be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by continuing to sell weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia.”
After an initial warning to the activists at the start of the operation at around 22:30, the police decided to let the images scroll on. The action finally had to be brought to a halt around 1:00 AM because the projector’s whirring caused a nuisance to the neighbourhood’s residents.
This appeal, relayed by a petition, was also addressed to Federal and European leaders.