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ARMS exports to Israel came under scrutiny today when protesters besieged two weapons factories.
Activists targeted Elbit Systems, an Israeli company which manufactures equipment on British soil.
Hey @CAATuk @StopTheArmsFair we couldn't wait til September to stop these profiteering warmongers at #elbit so we closed them down today! #StopArmingIsrael. #stopelbit #BDS. See you at #stopdsei. pic.twitter.com/7IlYJEW8WS
— Block the Factory (@blockthefactory) July 1, 2019
The firm’s Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Manchester and their new Instro Precision facility in Sandwich, Kent were blockaded early this morning.
Protesters occupied the roof of the Oldham factory and sprayed painted slogans on the Sandwich site.
Protesters said they took action in support of the Palestinian civil society call for an arms embargo on Israel.
The factory blockades are the latest in a long line of protests against Elbit Systems’ manufacturing of drones, tank parts and white phosphorous, a chemical weapon banned under international law from use in civilian areas.
Activist Emily Davis claimed: “Elbit is directly involved in the murder of Palestinians by the occupying Israeli forces.
“They work closely with the Israeli military to develop increasingly lethal weapons, which are then tested on Palestinians and sold as ‘battle-tested’ to governments around the world, including the British government.
“It is deplorable that they have four factories in the UK where they are able to manufacture their deadly weapons with impunity.”
Fellow activist Ben Hart said: “I took part in the action today in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are directly harmed as a result of the weapons manufactured in this factory.
“The weapons made here are used to maintain Israel’s system of apartheid and ensure the ordinary people of Gaza are kept in an open air prison.
“As Elbit profits from their deaths and suffering, it is the duty of people around the world take action in solidarity.
“Desmond Tutu put the duty of solidarity clearly: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’
“That is why we are shut down this weapons factory today. And we will keep returning until it is permanently out of commission.”
Greater Manchester Police told the Morning Star: “Shortly before 6.30am on Monday July 1 2019, police were called to reports that protesters were on the roof of a building on Greenacres Road in Oldham. Police and the fire service are in attendance as are specialist police negotiators.”
Kent Police said it was called an hour later “to reports of a protest at a business in Discovery Park, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich.”
There had been no arrests at the time of writing.
Elbit Systems was approached for comment.
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