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Israeli arms giant forced out of second UK site, activists say

AN ISRAELI arms firm has been forced to flee its London offices following almost two years of relentless and disruptive protests against the site, according to activists. 

Palestine Action announced this week that Elbit Systems — Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturer — has appeared to shut up shop at 77 Kingsway Road in Holborn, where the firm is registered as having its London offices on the sixth floor. 

The multi-occupancy office building has been repeatedly targeted by the direct action group since August 2020, with activists routinely chucking red paint over the facade and blocking off the entrance with arm lock-ons, leading to dozens of arrests. 

The group said that it has targeted the offices a total of 15 times, and has also launched protests against Elbit’s landlord, the real estate giant Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL). 

The news comes six months after Elbit sold off one of its weapons factories in Oldham. 

The arms giant claimed the sell-off was part of a “reorganisation” but Palestine Action argued that Elbit was driven out by its campaign of direct action. 

This appeared to be confirmed recently when the Crown Prosecution Service let slip during a bail hearing for two activists that protests at the Oldham site had forced the factory to close.

Celebrating the closure of a second Elbit site, a Palestine Action spokesperson said: “Elbit’s London Headquarters once played an important role in coordinating the firm’s bloodstained network of British operations, but not anymore. 

“After ceaseless direct action at 77 Kingsway and JLL, we have brought Elbit’s London operations to an end. 

“It’s a victory for all those who sacrificed their liberty and to all those who supported the movement, but most importantly the Palestinian people.

“It brings us another step closer to the day Israel’s arms trade is out of Britain for good.”

The group vowed to continue its campaign of direct action until all remaining Elbit sites across England and Wales are shut down. 

The activists announced the closure after reporting that they had been informed by a police officer, as well as reception and security staff working at 77 Kingsway, that Elbit had left the premises.

Elbit Systems, JLL and the Metropolitan Police did not respond to the Morning Star’s requests for comment. 

 

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