Date: 14th April 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
- For the first time, Palestine Action targeted Elbit’s Bristol HQ
- Activists simultaneously seized Elbit’s Ferranti factory in Oldham breaking into the building to fully occupy outside, inside and on top
- Five arrests were made at Elbit’s factory in Oldham, after activists allegedly caused over £100,000 in damages
- Elbit’s buildings were smeared in blood-red and the entrances were sealed with ‘war crime scene’ barrier tape
- Activists brought Elbit’s business-of-killing to a halt
Yesterday, 5 activists from Palestine Action were arrested after taking over the roof, entering the premises and blockading Elbit’s arms factory in Oldham. Brazenly, Bristol’s HQ was targeted at exactly the same time, grinding its lethal arms production to a halt in both the north and the southwest of the country. No arrests were made in Bristol, as the police said they were treating this as a “civil” rather than a “criminal” matter. This was the first time Elbit’s Bristol headquarters was targeted — a testament to the wide scale growth of the Palestine Action network.
Two out of the five activists arrested in Oldham were released on bail at around 2.00AM last night, after being held for over 15 hours. Shockingly, their draconian bail conditions include ‘not to attend or partake in any demonstration organised by or in support of ‘Palestine Action Group’, or ‘Manchester Palestine Action’, or ‘Palestine Action’, as well as not to go within 100 metres of any building owned or leased by Elbit. Once again, we see the state’s attempts to protect the corporate interests of arms companies that profit from murder and genocide.
The other three activists are still being held by Manchester police and are expected to be released sometime today. In total, the Ferranti 5 have been accused of causing £100,000 worth of damage.
The action saw Elbit’s buildings sprayed in blood-red paint, windows broken, activists chained to the premises and “war crime scene” barrier tape wrapped around the building. Banners hung from Oldham’s factory roof saying ‘Elbit’s arms: Tested on Palestine, Used in Kashmir’. In a first for Palestine Action, activists also took over the inside of Elbit, occupying Oldham’s site completely from top to bottom. Activists were able to hold the site for the entire day, disrupting Israel’s ability to keep making and profiting from murderous weaponry,
This latest escalation by the group, targeting two key sites at the same time, follows a string of disruptions, closures and damage to Israel’s chain of factories. Having only launched last summer, Palestine Action has collectively forced Elbit’s sites to close for several weeks at a time. They have already cost the firm and its associated companies over £2 million in losses.
Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms manufacturer, has 10 sites in the UK, including factories and offices. The company markets its weapons as “battle-tested” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza and uses this as a lucrative “selling point” to encourage oppressive regimes across the world to purchase its hardware. Amongst other “customers” are the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, who use Elbit’s drones to surveil and stop migrants seeking refuge in the UK.
“Elbit are war criminals, plain and simple, marketing their odious weapons based on how effectively they have killed defenceless Palestinian civilians and children,” says Palestine Action. “Israel’s chain of arms factories have absolutely no place in any civilised society and their existence is an utter stain on the UK. All those in positions of power who facilitate or invest in their industry, or turn a blind eye to their murderous technology, should hang their heads in shame.”
Israel’s experience in suppressing the political rights of others puts Elbit in a perfect place to sell its lethal technology of domination & control to other oppressive regimes. The company has been providing arms to Myanmar despite its genocide of the Rohingya muslims; last month’s military coup alone led to the brutal killing of more than 600 protestors, and in all, over 500,000 people have been forced to flee the country.
“While our government lies in bed with Elbit and cosies up to the arms industry, turning a blind eye to international law, it is up to us, the people, to take a stand and force these war criminals out,” says Palestine Action. Members vow to continue the campaign against Elbit until it is shut down for good.
Notes to Editors
For more information or to arrange interview contact: 07840150925
Palestine Action is a mass direct action movement working to end UK complicity with Israeli apartheid. Our actions expose, disrupt and damage arms companies who profit from the death and destruction of the Palestinian people and other oppressed groups. The network launched 8 months ago, and has hit Elbit Systems over 50 times — offices and production sites have been occupied, soaked in blood-red paint, advertising space has been taken over, and even the buildings of Elbit’s landlords have been targeted.