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Protesters shut down Israeli arms manufacturer for second day

ACTIVISTS continued to occupy the roof of a plant belonging to Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Ferranti today, forcing its closure for a second day.

Protesters remained on the roof in Oldham, Manchester, overnight. They draped large banners from the building to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the so-called Operation Protective Edge — Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014 which killed over 2,200 Palestinians.

One banner read: “UK Stop Arming Israel” while others described the shootings of thousands of Palestinian protesters in the Great March of Return this year.

Protesters aimed to highlight Britain’s complicity in Israel’s human rights violations by increasing its weapons sales to the country since 2014.

Britain issued £221 million in arms licences to defence companies exporting to Israel in 2017, up from £86 million the year before, according to Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Protesters accuse Elbit of selling weaponry “battle-tested” through its use on the Palestinian population.

One of the occupiers, Manchester Palestine Action’s Adie Mormech, said: “We think that arms companies like Elbit Ferranti should stop operating when it is clear their weapons are being developed through the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of Palestine.

“The crimes must stop and so must UK-based companies that are profiting from them. I was a teacher in Gaza for two years and I saw many children die in the hospitals from the kinds of weapons produced here during the ‘Pillar of Cloud’ attacks in 2012.

“One of my students was killed with her two young children in 2014 so I know a small part of the loss the Palestinians must be feeling.

“We’re trying to keep this factory shut so they can’t make things which kill innocent civilians.”

Campaigners are calling for a two-way arms embargo between Britain and Israel as well as the closure of four British-based Elbit factories.

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