‘Blood on their hands’: Glasgow activists shut down drone manufacturer

Activism
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Activists from Scotland’s Glasgow Palestine Action scaled their way inside the perimeter fence of a Thales UK factory in Govan, Glasgow in the early hours of the morning Tuesday, blockaded multiple entrances, climbed onto the roof top and shut down the weapons manufacture for the day protesting the companies collaboration with Israeli defense behemoth Elbit Systems, currently producing ‘Watchkeeper’ drones for the Israeli military.

Scotland’s The Herald cites activist Leena O’Hare:

“This is a message to Glasgow City Council who fly the Palestinian flag on our City Chambers while simultaneously arming Israel with the weapons they need to bomb Gaza.

“The UK government, by allowing Thales to operate with Elbit systems, have blood on their hands.

“We demand that the Scottish government puts pressure on the UK government to end arms sales to Israel. And also takes active steps towards ending the production of weapons systems in Scotland that are connected to apartheid, colonialism and genocide. Another Scotland is possible.”

 

Glasgow Palestine Action Shut Down Drone Manufacturer (photo: Glasgow Palestine Action)

Glasgow Palestine Action activists block entrance of Thales UK drone manufacturer (photo: Glasgow Palestine Action)

Live tweeting throughout the event, Glasgow Palestine Activists described the factory shutdown as their “first piece of direct action.”

As Scotland police arrived, began clearing the area and arresting members of the group they documented live:

Police arrested 10 activists who are now out on bail, their trial date set for March 2015.

In a press release sent to Mondoweiss Glasgow Palestine Action network elaborated on why they targeted Thales UK  “The drones are marketed as ‘field tested’ – which means they have proven effective at killing Palestinians.”:

The action is in response to the recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza, and the UK economy’s ever growing military industrial cooperation with governments that flout international law. In just over 7 weeks, Israel, armed with weapons supplied by the UK, killed more than 2000 innocent Palestinians.

Thales is being targeted today for their close relationship with Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest drone producer.  In a joint venture, Thales UK is working with Elbit Systems to make the next generation of ‘Watchkeeper’ drones, a contact worth £1 billion.  These drones are based upon the Hermes 450, which was documented killing Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2008-2009.  The drones are marketed as ‘field tested’ – which means they have proven effective at killing Palestinians.

Fifi O’Hara, one of the roof occupiers, explains: ‘Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal.  By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.’

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Awesome action.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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3 Responses

  1. just
    September 25, 2014, 10:35 am

    Truly awesome action, Annie.

    I love this bit: ““We demand that the Scottish government puts pressure on the UK government to end arms sales to Israel. And also takes active steps towards ending the production of weapons systems in Scotland that are connected to apartheid, colonialism and genocide. Another Scotland is possible.””

    Another America is possible as well!

  2. justicewillprevail
    September 25, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Well done, Glasgow! Another Scotland will be possible. Field tested – what a weasel phrase.

  3. ivri
    September 25, 2014, 5:02 pm

    The real big drone manufacturing sites are closer to home – they are right next to you in the US. And given how they are protected over there you can bet that nothing of the kind can succeed there. So either it will get protected well in Glasgow too or move elsewhere. So why cheer about a footnote (poor man`s joy?).

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