Via Palestine Action
- A Palestine Action activist has been on hunger strike for 7 continuous days, after being remanded to prison following involvement in the occupation of the Arconic factory in Kitts Green, Birmingham
- The activist, who goes by the name Yogi Bear, was remanded by Birmingham Magistrates Court on Thursday 17th May, and began their hunger strike after detention began in HMP Foston Hall
- The hunger strike will continue until at least one of the four demands are met, which are listed below
- Yogi participated in last week’s action in solidarity with the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and victims of the bombardment of Gaza, shutting down the Arconic factory for two days due to their involvement in both of these crimes against humanity
A Palestine Action activist, named Yogi Bear, has been on a continuous hunger strike for 7 days following their detention for participating in the concientious occupation of the Arconic factory in Kitts Green, Birmingham. The hunger strike will continue until one or more of the four demands, relating to Israeli war crimes committed with British-made armaments, are met. These demands are:
- Immediate release of Palestine Action prisioners.
- Lasalle Investment Management evict Elbit Systems from 77 Kingsway London.
- The British Government to release all correspondence and/or documents between the government or any arm of the state (Police Force, MOD, Border Force, or any other goverment department) and Elbit Systems or any of their subsidiaries.
- Elbit Systems to shut down UK operations.
Until any one or all four of these demands are met, the hunger strike will continue. This hunger strike – as was the initial occupation of the Arconic site – is demonstrative of the will of UK citizens who will no longer abide UK complicity in Israeli war crimes. The products of Elbit, Arconic, and a host of other UK -located companies are directly employed by the Israeli state and military in the brutal repression of Palestinian civilians. This brave activist, their partners in the Arconic occupation, and thousands of other activists are willing to put their bodies and liberties on the line in order to save Palestinian lives – and will continue until complicit companies are shut down and Palestinians are freed.
The hunger strike began following Yogi’s arrest and remand to prison by Birmingham Magistrates Court, now being detained in HMP Folston Hall. They are denying all food, risking their health in order to further protest ongoing UK complicity in crimes against humanity. Yogi is an experienced activist, having undertaken direct action across the UK in protest of global injustice. Along with actions taken in solidarity with Palestine, previous actions have been undertaken as part of the climate justice movement – being the last activist to be removed from the occupation of the proposed line of HS2.
The action taken last week at the Arconic site in Birmingham was undertaken to disrupt Arconic operations on the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. Arconic are the manufacturers of the highly flammable cladding which expert examination concluded contributed to the severity of the blaze, which ultimately claimed 72 lives. Arconic executives have admitted to knowing that the product was unsafe, selling it despite this knowledge. Arconic also manufacture sheet metal and materials for F35 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, both of which are employed extensively by the Israeli military for the bombardments of Gaza.
The other activist detained by police following the occupation – 19 year old Sohail Soltan – has been since released. The remand-in-prison of Yogi is likely due to prior conscientious acts, with police and courts becoming aware of the power which one committed person can wield over the forces of repression and global injustice.
A Palestine Action spokesperson has stated the following:
“Yogi represents what the police and state forces fear most – an individual willing to sacrifice their health and liberty to prevent further injustice being committed in their name and on their doorstep. The likes of Arconic and Elbit would do well to see what conscientiousness means, and to recognise that people are not afraid of taking action to prevent their criminal business from continuing. Yogi has our full support and solidarity, and we commend their extraordinary bravery. We require a response to our demands from the British State, Elbit Systems, and/or Lasalle Investment Mangement.”
Updates on the strike will follow as they arise.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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Photo Credit: VXPictures
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Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against firms complicit in the ongoing repression of Palestinians. Palestine Action use direct action shut down manufactuing hubs for these companies, halt their operations, and are calling for the British government to end its complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Arconic’s involvement in supplying the Israeli military: https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2018/12/10/the-grenfell-cladding-company-is-also-profiting-from-arms-sales/
Arconic executive admits knowledge of unsafe cladding before sales: https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2018/12/10/the-grenfell-cladding-company-is-also-profiting-from-arms-sales/
Coverage of the Arconic occupation: