Activists stormed iO Associates’ new offices in Manchester City Centre to demand the company stop recruiting for Elbit Systems UK. The group carried flags and a banner, which read ‘IO Associates recruiting for Elbit Murderers’. This action happened the day after iO Associates announced their expansion of ‘defence recruitment’ into Manchester. During the action, the iO Associates director, Ross Markall, assaulted several group members, including a 14 year old daughter of a journalist and smashed her phone.
iO Associates have Bristol, Reading, Newcastle, London and Manchester offices. They are the sole recruiters for Elbit Systems UK, the UK arm of Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer. Shortly after the action, iO Associates removed 21 out of 22 job postings for Elbit from their website. Elbit Systems manufactures 85% of Israel’s military drone fleet, not only arming the Israeli military with these drones and developing the technology but also operating the drones alongside the military, directly assisting them in their attacks. They also supply the Israeli army with land-based equipment, bullets, tank components, rocket launchers and more. Most of their weaponry is marketed as “battle-tested” after being developed on the captive population of Gaza.
After a five year local campaign and intense direct action, Elbit Systems was forced to shut down their Oldham weapons factory. Now, activists in the region have set their target on iO Associates. This follows the numerous actions of Palestine Action against companies that work alongside the Israeli weapons manufacturer. Efforts will continue against iO Associates until they publicly announce they’ve cut all ties with Elbit Systems UK.
Commenting on the action, Manchester Palestine Action said:
“Manchester won’t accept a recruitment agency for Israel’s criminal weapons firm Elbit Systems. People here are disgusted iO associates have expanded into the city. How dare they when Israel has been exposed as an apartheid state again and again? Israel continues to massacre Palestinians, steal more land and imprison people for defending their homes from ethnic cleansing. We won’t stop until all Elbit’s recruiters are kicked out of the city, and Elbit is forced out of Britain for good.”