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More than 1,000 trade unionists block four Israeli weapons factories

FOUR arms factories producing parts for Israeli fighter jets were shut down in protests by more than 1,000 trade unionists today.

Campaigners calling for an end to Britain’s complicity in war crimes being committed in Gaza blockaded sites at Bournemouth, Glasgow, Brighton and Lancashire.

The demonstrations were organised by campaign group Workers for a Free Palestine in co-ordination with workers in France, Denmark and the Netherlands, involving members from trade unions including Unite, Unison, GMB, the NEU, the BMA, UCU, Bectu and BFAWU.

The campaign group said they targeted sites run by defence giant BAE Systems which produces parts for the F-35 stealth combat jet currently being used by Israel to bombard Gaza.

More than 600 blockaded Eaton Mission Systems in Bournemouth alone. 

A spokeswoman for Workers for a Free Palestine said: “The fighter jets these factories help to produce are being used to imprison the people of Gaza in a death trap.

“Workers all over Britain are rising up for Palestine, saying we will not allow arms used in a genocide to be supplied in our name and funded by our taxes.

“We won’t stop shutting down these factories until they stop supporting Israel’s murderous war machine.”

Mesh, a doctor speaking on behalf of Health Workers for a Free Palestine, which is taking part the blockades, added: “As healthcare workers we are tired of mourning the deaths of our colleagues — fellow nurses, doctors, dentists, medical students and other health workers — along with all of the Palestinians massacred by the Israeli regime.”

The campaign group said demonstrated it was escalating its action after previous blockades, urging BAE and other companies to end their ties with Israel and cease all weapons, defence and supplies trading with them.

It is also calling on the government to back a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Workers in Palestine, a coalition of Palestinian trade unions, said: “Shutting down four factories across the UK today, along with several simultaneous blockades in Europe, are critical acts of solidarity — refusing to conduct business as usual in the face of Israel's relentless bombardment of Gaza and ongoing genocide.”

BAE Systems said: “We’re horrified by the situation in Israel and Gaza and the devastating impact it’s having on civilians in the region and we hope it can be resolved as soon as possible.”

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