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Welsh peace activists block BAE systems factory over its ‘complicity’ in Gaza massacre

DOZENS of Welsh peace activists shut down one of Britain’s largest arms factories today.

Wales Peace Coalition campaigners held banners saying “stop arming genocide” and “UK weapons kill” as they blockaded BAE Systems’s factory in Glascoed, near Pontypool.

They said they wanted to highlight the company’s “complicity in the … unfolding genocide” against Palestinians by Israel, “including the suspected white phosphorous rounds” for the state.

A spokesman for Cardiff Stop the War, which supported the action, said: “We cannot rely on our local elected MPs or our unelected prime minister to take any action. 

“Britain is an active collaborator and participant in the war crimes committed against Palestinians. 

“We say no to selling arms and supporting atrocious war crimes, not in our name.”

Cardiff UCU said that it stood against the “use of British weapons in war crimes,” urging the British and Welsh governments “to act so that citizens do not have to feel the need to put themselves on the line to stop our country’s involvement in such crimes.”

Honorary president of Palestinian Solidarity Campaign UK Betty Hunter said: “To do nothing about the arms trade with Israel is to be complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people. 

“We refuse to allow our leaders in business and government to go unchallenged. We must stop this shameful trade in arms which dehumanises people in order to destroy them.

“The world said ‘never again’ in 1948 with the UN charter. This must be applied to Palestinian rights now. Starting with an immediate ceasefire.”

The action was the second by the coalition after it shut down Elbit Systems in Bristol last month.

A BAE insider said its 155 munitions do not contain white phosphorous and go direct to the UK Ministry of Defence.

In a parliamentary answer on Israel aid, Defence Minister James Heappey said last month that “Since 7 October 2023, the UK Government has provided no lethal or military equipment other than medical supplies to Israel.”

A BAE Systems spokesperson 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.

“We respect everyone’s right to protest peacefully.

“We operate under the tightest regulation and comply fully with all applicable defence export controls, which are subject to ongoing assessment.”

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