Freedom News

Welsh BAE arms factory picketed

The people of Cymru have always stood strong in resistance to oppression. On January 3, 2024, over 60 activists from the Cymru Peace Coalition picketed BAE Glascoed, stating, ‘Our government might be complicit in genocide, but we are not’. 

Arriving early, demonstrators from a broad coalition including peace campaigners, workers, Palestine solidarity movements, BLM and others blockaded both entrances to the munitions factory, preventing traffic from entering or leaving the site while holding banners saying “stop arming genocide” and “UK weapons kill”.

BAE, Are These Yours?

BAE Glascoed is a munitions site, recently given a £130 million investment by the British Ministry of Defence. Outrage and alarm have been mounting about BAE Systems’ involvement with Israel and their campaign of ethnic cleansing against the occupied people of Palestine, with BAE producing a range of weapons systems used by the IDF to conduct waves of airstrikes against a civilian population. BAE Systems PLC manufactures parts of the F-35 stealth fighter jet and the F-16 currently being used, and yesterday, questions were raised about Glascoed’s production of 155mm artillery shells and white phosphorous rounds – supplied through a subsidiary to the US, which supplies the IDF. The use of white phosphorous is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

A spokesperson from Black Lives Matter Wales, attending the event, stated,

“As the profits of the arms manufacturers increase, so does the death total of innocent Palestinians at the hands of the terrorist Israeli state. It is our duty to shut them down. We do not want these death factories in our neighbourhoods, our cities, or our country. Our government might be complicit in genocide, but we are not.”​​​​​​​

In recent days, the International Federation of Human Rights has stated that Israel’s aggression towards Palestine constitutes “an unfolding genocide“, whilst South Africa has invoked the Genocide Convention at the ICJ, the UN’s top court against Israel. Over 21,000 Palestinians have been killed, including an estimated 9000 children (these figures are thought to be low estimates, as many bodies cannot be recovered under the rubble). This is in contravention of the UN laws prohibiting collective punishment.

At the site, pickets stood calm and resolute as they held the blockade for several hours, playing songs of Palestinian resistance and hearing speeches from attendees.

This is the third time that the Cymru Peace Coalition has resorted to direct action in response to the UK government’s repeated failure to endorse an immediate ceasefire in the region and its framing of the Israeli government’s actions as self-defence. The group cannot stand by whilst the UK government continues to fail the Palestinian people, who will continue to die at the war crimes perpetrated by UK arms.

A spokesperson from Cardiff Stop the War, supporting today’s event:

“The Cardiff community is here under the ‘Cardiff Stop the War banner’ because we know that the people who have the power to stop this genocide are not going to. We cannot rely on our local elected MPs or our unelected prime minister to take any action. The UK is an active collaborator and participant in the war crimes committed against Palestinians. We are horrified that the UK is allowing arms manufacturers to operate out of this country despite weeks of demonstrations from the people of this country demanding an end to the UK’s support of Israel. We say no to selling arms and supporting atrocious war crimes, not in our name.”

~ Cymru Peace Coalition

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