Protest as arms firm EDO prepares first expansion in 15 years

The EDO MBM factory in Brighton has produced weapons parts for countries including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and the US, enabling human rights abuses in violation of international law.

Tomorrow’s (February 20th) protest outside the main gates, which starts at 3.30pm [event page], is part of a major new campaign sparked by Brighton and Hove Council’s decision last September to allow the firm to expand its site at Home Farm Road.

Joining the protest will be members of Brighton community groups including Brighton Against the Arms Trade, Brighton Migrant Solidarity, Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Brighton Kurdistan Solidarity and Brighton Against Borders, calling on the council to reverse its recent decision to allow the factory to expand.

EDO components are being produced for UK-supplied Saudi Tornado and Typhoon warplanes, which are assisting war crimes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition forces in Yemen. The war in Yemen has caused over 60,000 civilian deaths and a widespread famine, with UN OCHA estimating that 8.4 million people are at imminent risk of starvation.

Brighton Against the Arms Trade member Mary Higgins said: “Millions of people in Yemen are at immediate risk of death from famine and preventable illness. We can’t stay silent when those who arm the Saudi-led coalition sit on our doorstep.”

And Matt Kennedy, a Moulsecoomb resident who will join the protest commented: “There’s palpable anger amongst many local people.. The council is facilitating war crimes across the globe, we can’t stand for it.”

EDO, which is owned by arms multinational Harris, controls the patent for an ‘umbilicus’ – a small cable that feeds geolocation information to a smart bomb in F35 fighter jets which were sold to Turkey and used to invade Northern Syria / Rojava. It also owns the main bomb rack used on Israel’s F-16 bombers, which have been used against Gaza. EDO bomb release components are supplied to Israel, Saudi Arabia and US air forces certified for use with cluster bombs, contrary to the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010.

In 2014, Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion of beseiged Gaza killed over 2,200 Palestinians, nearly a quarter of them children. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reports that the Israeli F-16 is the most likely military aircraft delivery system for its nuclear weapons.

The ‘Break The Kill Chain’ protest comes as peace groups begin making plans to oppose bi-annual bombs n guns festival DSEI on September 10th-13th.

Previous years of the murder machine marketing meet, which takes place at the ExCeL Centre in London, have drawn an increasing number of people determined to put a spanner in the works and saw serious disruption in 2017, when more than 100 people were arrested.


Pic: A Brighton anti-arms trade rally in 2008, by fotdmike