A pro-Palestinian supporter wears a Palestinian and Union flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – Anti-Israeli protesters shut down four factories in what appeared to be a coordinated move focusing on the Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems.
It is understood that some of the equipment produced at one of the factories is used to keep a watch on the West Bank security barrier.
Three British factories, owned by Instro Precision, an Elbit subsidiary, had to temporarily end their manufacturing following a series of sit-ins by pro-Palestinian activists, their third such exercise this year.
And at one site police arrested eight people after protesters blocked a road outside a factory they claimed supplied hardware for Israeli military drones.
According to Staffordshire Police, seven men and one woman were detained in Shenstone, near Lichfield, in the English West Midlands on suspicion of breaching a High Court order.
Activists from London Palestine Action, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Boycott Israel Network organized the protest against UA V Engines in Shenstone and separate business premises in nearby Tamworth under the “Block the factory” banner.
Banners with slogans such as “Elbit Drones Murder,” “Stop Arming Israel” and “Elbit Kills Kids For Profit” were held high and various like-worded messages were spray-painted on walls.
Ch.-Insp. Steve Smith explained that the police had continuously provided protesters with the opportunity to “safely and peacefully comply with directions which would allow them to continue their protest lawfully at Shenstone, but a number of protesters locked themselves to fencing and others blocked the road.”
He added that at Tamworth those on the roof voluntarily came down and were directed by police to leave the area. “A civil injunction is in place around this location so police have the power to arrest anyone breaching this injunction,” he said.
Earlier this year, protesters who had occupied the Instro Precision factory during last summer’s Gaza conflict, were told by the Crown Prosecution Service that no action would be taken against them. The case collapsed after witnesses due to give evidence on behalf of Elbit decided not to appear.