Freedom News

Palestine Action SHUT DOWN weapons firm HQ

Yesterday, at 7 AM, before workers could enter the London offices of Thales’ weapons firm, two activists from Palestine Action attached themselves to each other using lock-on devices, preventing all access to the Quadrant. The premises were also drenched with red paint using repurposed fire extinguishers, symbolising the bloodshed of the Palestinian people.

Palestine Action acted on the day of the international call to action under the ‘Shut It Down for Palestine‘ banner. As ever, these activists have put their liberty on the line, using direct action to respond to Palestinian pleas for the world to stop supplying arms to, and to reject complicity with, Israel’s apartheid regime.

The action comes at a time of increasing mobilisation globally against the companies facilitating Israel’s murderous ethnic cleansing. Over 10,500 Palestinians have thus far been killed by the occupation, a genocide made possible because of the deadly supply chain which aids and abets the murderers serving in Israel’s military; specifically, Thales partners with Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, under their joint venture ‘UAV Tactical Systems’ (or U-TacS). 

Blockade Thales offices, London 09/11/23

U-TacS operates from their factory in Leicester, a site which has been targeted by direct action for over two years and which has been hit multiple times by Palestine Action since Israel’s latest genocidal onslaught commenced. This site exports equipment for military drones in considerable volumes to Israel. With Israel not being a purchaser of U-TacS’ Watchkeeper drones, these exports will undoubtedly consist of parts for Israel’s Hermes drone fleet, which was “battle-tested” on the captive population of Gaza, upon which the Watchkeeper is closely based. 

The Hermes drones are used extensively in Israeli bombardments of Gaza, for either guiding bombs or for delivering munitions themselves. They are the ‘backbone’ of the Israeli Air Force’s aerial operations. The death toll attributable to these drones will be incalculable, and even when they are not being used for aerial strikes, Palestinians in Gaza have long described the constant, horrifying presence and surveillance of the Hermes. Separately to the deplorable U-TacS venture, Thales UK has also supplied arms independently to Israel of the ML5 license category reserved for sights, targeting and firing systems.

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