In the early hours of this morning, four Palestine Action activists began an occupation of arms company Thales’ factory in South Glasgow. The activists scaled the roof factory’s at dawn and began causing severe damage to site facilities, forcing workers to evacuate the building. Their occupation is ongoing, rendering Thales’ conveyor belt of weapons inoperable.
Thales is one of the world’s largest arms companies, producing military drones, armoured vehicles, missile systems and more. Amongst the assorted warfare-related hardware made by Thales, the Watchkeeper drone project stands out. The project seeks to further the policing and surveillance of captive populations belonging to the nations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. Watchkeeper UAVs have also been trialled over British waters by the UK Border Force, monitoring the flow of refugees seeking to enter Britain.
The development of the Watchkeeper drone was done in cooperation between Thales and Israel’s Elbit Systems; development drew heavily on knowledge gathered from the constant use of Elbit’s Hermes 450 drones over Gaza’s skies.
Those in Gaza will often speak of how the drone’s constant presence, including its persistent buzzing noise, induces anxiety and fear and adds to the constant state of trauma Gaza lives in. Stories like these have prompted activists to ensure Israel’s military supply chain in Britain is struck at through direct action.
In Gaza, a team of Palestinian artists painted a mural dedicated to Palestine Action, thanking the network of activists for their sacrifices and victories against the British-Israeli arms trade.
Palestine Action Scotland is the Scottish wing of Palestine Action, the direct action network that has struck severe blows to the operations of Israeli-owned weapons company Elbit Systems. Commencing their second action, the group have put bodies and liberties on the line in order to put an end to a business of dispossession, occupation, and state-backed murder that spans the world.
Image by Neil Terry.