In its latest action against Elbit Systems, Palestine Action stormed the Israeli weapons maker’s flagship premises yesterday (May 15th), occupying both the inside of the facility and the roof to mark Nakba Day.
Update (May 18th): All nine of those arrested were initially informed they had been granted bail, however in a highly unusual move the Crown Prosecution Service appealed the decision and the activists were remanded in custody.
The well-executed plan saw a group of activists set up a lock-on to block the road outside the building while others moved into the building’s interior through a window, dismantling offices and equipment with sledgehammer and crowbar and barricading themselves inside. Others occupied the exterior roof. After a standoff, all nine were arrested.
Palestine Action has repeatedly targeted the nine sites remaining to Elbit in Britain, which sold its Ferranti factory in January, and is calling on the firm to pull out of the country entirely. The Bristol site, leased from Sedgemore District Council, is its main operations hub.
Recording while in the building, one of the occupiers said:
“We’ve occupied a room with computers and television and we’ve smashed it up very nicely for them to see on Nakba Day, 74 years of apartheid, colonisation, crimes against humanity, atrocities of every kind you can imagine, imprisonment of children, bombarding and brutal murder of children, of Palestinian people. This is where it all starts.”
The Nakba (Catastrophe) saw more than half the indigenous population of Palestine displaced and thousands massacred in 1948 as part of the creation of the State of Israel. Commemoration of the day, and even the word, has repeatedly seen attempted repression since.
Another of the activists added:
“To the workers here, I know you think it’s just your job, but you’re impacting the lives of thousands of people in Palestine and countless other people in different countries across the world like Yemen, Kashmir – your weapons are killing people. What you’re doing allows Israel to continue its apartheid state.”
Palestine Action aims to “permanently disrupt the British-Israeli weapons trade by halting Elbit’s production of weapons on British shores … From British-made drone components to destructive artillery, and contracts with the British military, targetting Elbit Systems is key to ending Britain’s role in Israel’s violent apartheid.”
Pic courtesy of Guy Smallman