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FIVE activists were arrested after spattering red paint over the front of an Israeli arms firm’s London office in a surprise attack during a protest on Saturday.
The group of women activists from the Palestine Action network burst out of a car with fire extinguishers filled with paint, spraying the facade of 77 Kingsway, Holborn, bright red.
The multi-office building is where Elbit Systems – Israel’s largest arms company – has its London headquarters.
Paint also showered onto police officers and a group of pro-Israel protesters defending the arms firm, who were standing in front of the building at the time.
Five people were arrested, including the driver of the car, on suspicion of criminal damage and police assault, the Metropolitan Police confirmed in a statement.
The action took place as dozens of protesters against the arms firm gathered outside the building amid a heavy police presence.
They held banners aloft reading: “UK: Stop Arming Israel,” and “War Criminals This Way.”
Elbit supplies the Israeli military with more than 80 per cent of its drone fleet, including the Hermes 450 and 900, which have been used to bomb civilians in Gaza.
Following the protest, campaigners accused officers of “brutality” when arresting the five.
Describing the arrests, one of the activists involved, who preferred not to be named, told the Morning Star: “I hit my head hard on the ground and my left arm was forced behind my back.
“I put my other arm under my head to try to protect it but the officer tried to pull it away to cuff me even though I was shouting that I was in pain.”
However the activist stressed that this was “nothing in comparison to the constant aggression faced by those on whom Elbit’s weapons are used.”
“The police make a fuss of some red paint thrown at a building but are content to protect a company such as Elbit, whose profits are covered in blood,” she added.
Huda Ammori from Palestine Action, a new network of direct action groups, said they will continue to target the firm “until it is shut down for good and until British complicity with Israeli apartheid is brought to an end.”
The Metropolitan Police said an officer was taken to hospital during the protest but had no serious injuries, and did not comment on specific questions regarding the treatment of those arrested.
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