Five activists were released on bail after they were arrested for alleged ‘conspiracy to commit public nuisance’ at the London Stock Exchange (LSE). One was charged and remanded to Wirral Magistrates Court, where he will apply for bail.
The LSE has raised over £ 4.73 billion in the sale of bonds for the apartheid state of Israel in the past six years. The exchange describes itself as “a key partner to Israeli businesses, by enabling them to raise capital internationally” and trades shares in weapons manufacturers arming Israel’s regime, including BAE Systems, Babcock, and QinetiQ.
In a meeting on the 8th February 2022 between the UK Secretary of State and Israeli investors, which included representatives from Israeli weapons companies Elbit Systems and Rafael, it was noted that “The London Stock Exchange has a strong and important relationship with Israel”. This relationship involves the LSE holding capital market conferences in Israel and hosting Israeli businesses on the exchange, with a combined market capital of $ 14.7 billion.
The arrests came after an undercover journalist from the Daily Express infiltrated the group and reported the activists to the police. The journalist, Max Parry, joined Palestine Action under the false identity of ‘Ollie Maxwell’, an environmental campaigner who worked in a cafe in Laughton. Amongst his fabricated backstory on how he became involved in the Palestine liberation movement and other false assertions, he falsified online accounts and messages from his ‘manager’ in an attempt to quash suspicion.
As an active direct action movement which has consistently taken direct action to end British complicity with the colonisation of Palestine, we’ve caused significant disruption to Israel’s weapons trade. As a result, the state and other bad faith actors have taken several measures to try and crack down on our growing movement over the past three years. Now more than ever, as Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people has seen over 25,000 killed, more than 60,000 injured and the majority of the Gaza population displaced, Palestine Action will not back down.
We will continue to grow, evolve and remain steadfast in our direct action campaign against the Israeli weapons trade and those who facilitate it.