In the dead of night last Sunday, the socialist youth group ROOD Rotterdam (Red Rotterdam) staged a protest outside the office of DJI Europe BV in Barendrecht, The Netherlands. Their mission? To denounce the drone deliveries from DJI to Russia, carried out through a company based in Kazakhstan. According to these young socialists, the supply of drones and other equipment only serves to prolong the war in Ukraine.
DJI drones are heavily used by Russian and Ukrainian forces in Ukraine for various military purposes, from gathering intelligence to dropping explosives on enemy positions and tanks. Despite the embargo on drone deliveries to Russia, it was recently discovered that thousands of drones were acquired from DJI Europe BV through a company in Kazakhstan, only to be funneled to the Russian military.
DJI Europe BV in The Netherlands.
This dual supply of drones to Russians and Ukrainians irks ROOD Rotterdam. The group argues that companies like DJI's pursuit of new markets hinder sustainable peace. Interestingly, they do not take sides: they believe Western arms supplies to Ukraine should also cease.
During the Barendrecht protest, a flag was raised bearing the message ‘Business with Putin – all for money,' accompanied by DJI's logo and the Russian flag. Only a handful of ROOD Rotterdam demonstrators attended the protest, demanding that DJI cease its deliveries, even if it requires government intervention.
A custom-made explosive is attached underneath a DJI Mavic 3 drone and can be released over enemy positions remotely.
“ROOD stands against all arms manufacturers, and though we can mostly oppose arms deliveries for ‘our side' of the war, we equally condemn these war profiteers in Barendrecht. That's why we took action against DJI tonight; stop arms supplies on both sides, stop the imperialist war!” the youth organization declared.
In response, DJI stated that it voluntarily ceased all shipments and activities in Russia and Ukraine in April 2022.
“DJI abhors any use of our drones to cause harm, and we temporarily suspend sales in these Countries to ensure no one uses our drones in battles,” a company spokesperson said.
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