UK demonstration at subsidiary of Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems enters third day as two are arrested.
Pro-Palestinian activists in the United Kingdom extended their demonstration against the Israeli occupation into a third day on Friday, protesting at a factory that they allege makes combat drones for the Israeli military.
Members of the Palestine Action group first scaled the roof of the factory in Leicester, a city in the English Midlands, on Wednesday.
The site belongs to UAV Tactical Systems, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms producer, and Thales, a French aerospace company.
The activists allege that the site manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles which have been used to deadly effect by Israeli forces in Gaza.
“These drones have been directly linked to the butchering of children in Gaza, and activists occupying the site are determined that no more of them end up in Israel’s hands,” Palestine Action said in a statement published on its website on Thursday.
The latest Israel-Palestine conflict, which has eased after a ceasefire went into effect on Friday, saw 11 days of relentless Israeli bombing on the besieged enclave, while Hamas, the group ruling Gaza, fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
At least 243 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed, and around 90,000 were displaced as Israel bombed residential buildings and refugee camps.
On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, were killed.
‘Lethal weapons factory’
Palestine Action said it had chained the gates of the factory shut and claimed to have disrupted production at the site.
Pictures posted on social media showed a few protesters standing on the building’s roof, some of whom were holding a Palestinian flag.
The factory appeared to have been smeared with red paint.
“Israel’s lethal weapons factory in #Leicester remains shut and occupied by #PalestineAction for the third day — We #ShutElbitDown,” Palestine Action tweeted on Friday.
Israel’s lethal weapons factory in #Leicester remains shut and occupied by #PalestineAction for the third day — We #ShutElbitDown pic.twitter.com/IwyGUtzEGz
— Palestine Action (@Pal_action) May 21, 2021
“A further protest is continuing to take place on the ground outside the business, which has been facilitated in a peaceful manner,” Leicestershire Police said in a statement on Friday.
Two people suspected of aiding and abetting an aggravated trespass were arrested at the Meridian Business Park, where the factory is located, on Thursday,
The pair – a 57-year-old woman and 23-year-old man – were being held in custody.
Palestine Action said more than 100 people had gathered outside the factory’s gates on Wednesday in a show of solidarity.
Palestine Action and Elbit had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment at the time of publication.