‘Stop arming Israel!’ Scottish Pro-Palestinian activists occupy Israel-linked arms factory in Glasgow
Pro-Palestinian activists in Glasgow have gained access to the factory of a leading multinational defence company with links to an Israeli drone manufacturer.
Thales UK is working with Elbit Systems to make the next generation of Watchkeeper drones, a contract worth £1 billion.
Around 15 activists from the Glasgow Palestine Action Network (GPAN) attended the protest, with around five people climbing on the factory doors, while others blocked the factory doors during the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The roof’s occupiers hung banners from the factory, condemning UK involvement in trading and developing arms with Israel.
“UK Gov. Thales Elbit: Complicit in Genocide” read one banner, while another said “Stop Arming Israel"
— Glasgow PalAction (@GlasgowBDS) September 23, 2014
The protesters said they staged the action because of Thales’ relationship with the Israeli drones’ manufacturer Elbit systems, Israels’ largest military research and development centre.
GOOD NEWS: Glasgow Palestine Action are still glued to the roof of Thales in Govan, protesting their deal with Elbit pic.twitter.com/LlKzScGeLT
— Russell Tribunal (@russelltribunal) September 23, 2014
According to the London Palestine Action Group, who shut down the Elbit Systems factory in August, the Israeli weapons’ manufacturer is one of the world’s leading developers of unmanned aerial drones, which many suspect the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) used in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
The operation, which ended in August, killed more than 2,000 civilians, according to the United Nations. Among the casualties were hundreds of women and children.
“Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal,” said Fifi O’Hara, one of the roof’s occupiers.
“By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.”
Lattice Royale, another protester, argued that the UK had “blood on its hands” for its continuation of weapons contracts with Israel, and that the Scottish government should set a precedent by ending its role in the global arms trade.
“We demand that the Scottish government puts pressure on the
UK government to end arms sales to Israel. And also takes active
steps towards ending the production of weapons systems in
Scotland that are connected to apartheid, colonialism and
genocide,” she said, adding: “Another Scotland is
Thales UK has come under heavy criticism in the past for its association with the Israeli defence forces, with protesters occupying the London office of the multinational.
Police arrived at the scene on Tuesday afternoon, and have been discussing ways to control and disperse the protesters.
"A small number of protesters have made their way inside the perimeter fence and onto the roof of the building," a spokesperson from Thales UK said.
"The protest appears at this stage to be peaceful and representatives from the police are on site and are dealing with the situation."