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Palestine Action: report from the front line

by Jurgen Wolf, May 12

Palestine Action is a British Organisation of Anti-Apartheid Activists aiming at practically disrupting the operations of the murder-weapon producing Israeli-owned ELBIT arms factory. The ultimate goal is to drive them out of Britain.

Elbit runs 10 arms factories in GB, 2 of which already had to close due to the persistent attacks by PALESTINE ACTION occupying their sites and destroying their equipments. Elbit specialises in manufacturing drones and aerial electronics which are used in the endless terror against the Palestinians and are later sold as “battle-tested” on the international arms markets.

On Monday, May 1st this year we took aim at Elbit’s site in Leicester, UAV Tactical Systems. This time the action took the form of a siege over several days and nights, establishing a protestors’ camp outside the factory, thereby stopping all Elbit operations on the site.

The siege began at 3pm, when 100’s assembled at the gates of the factory. After that, there was a packed program, including an exclusive performance by Lowkey, Palestinian Dabke dance, speeches, songs and more. After Lowkey’s showstopper, there was a dinner break and time for pitching up camp.

These activities were met by an excessive Police deployment consisting of 100’s of officers, dogs, innumerable police vans and cars. Police barriers preventing vehicular access to the site, positioned approx. 200 yards on both sides. A special metal wall had been erected to shield the factory from the activists.

This, however, did not dampen the spirit of the protesters.

One week in, The Siege is succeeding – disrupting Elbit and celebrating resistance!

Over 35 arrests have been made at the site of the Palestine Action siege, but the police must have been disappointed that their campaign of harassment and intimidation was failing. More people continued to turn up to join the mass action against Elbit in Leicester, and the siege has successfully undermined Elbit’s business throughout this week.

While the police seized tents, supplies, and food, the local community stood in solidarity – bringing down cooked food, bedding, and equipment. The factory has become a place for community resistance – while keeping Elbit closed, their premises are now a space for workshops, prayers, and music. The Leicester community have organised a football tournament at the site. The people are standing defiant – keeping the siege going, now in its seventh day.

All supporters are invited to come any time throughout next week – as we keep up the siege, and continue the disruption caused to Israel’s arms trade. If you are to come down, hot food and camping gear are the most welcome donations for those at factory.

Throughout the week, the factory has been without staff and inoperative, listed as ‘temporarily closed’ (Elbit removed this information from the web once we pointed it out). We want to keep it this way, and the more of us there are at the site, the longer we’ll keep Elbit from making their drone technologies in Leicester.

The siege will continue on for as long as it takes. We have completed the first week of the mobilisation – but are willing to stay for another 2, 4, 8, or however many weeks are needed before the factory is closed for good. Whatever police and private security Elbit have at hand to protect their business-of-bloodshed, we have hundreds of dedicated actionists, a community standing with us, and Palestinian solidarity to guide us. We will not back down until the factory is shut down.

Join us at UAV TACTICAL SYSTEMS, Unit F, Meridian East, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1WZ

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