Come rain or shine, the protestors have been turning up for more than three months.
Palestine supporters from the local community and from afar camped outside a weapons factory owned by Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems, in Leicester, England. Their aim is to shut it down for good.
Beyond the steel fence and barbed wire, the Elbit Drone factory, which, activists say accounts for the majority of the Israeli regime’s UAV fleet. The company denies this.
Israeli arms factories that are in Britain and this particular one makes drones and other types of munitions and components.
Elbit, collectively, makes just about every single piece of weaponry that you can think of. It’s really imperative we shut this particular factory down.
It has six armed [sic] export licenses, worth 5 million pounds a year, that go to Israel that are then used to terrorize and bomb the Palestinian people.
Sarah Wilkinson, Palestine Action
It all started 100 days ago when Palestine Action members laid siege to Elbit in Leicester. They were arrested and removed by police in May for “conspiracy to do criminal damage”.
Palestine Action have laid siege to the company in locations across the country for the past two years, leading to the permanent closure of two sites and costing the company more than $400 million in lost contracts with the British Ministry of Defence.
The void after they were forcibly removed from the site has been filled by other pro Palestinian activists, among them Leicester locals who say this site is next.
The two closed sites include the London headquarters of Elbit and a factory in Greater Manchester, the result of Palestine Action’s sustained campaign of direct action in the past two years, but it hasn’t been easy for them.
Back in May, we were arrested, most of the Palestine Action people were arrested, and we were given bail conditions, they took our phones and they gave us bail conditions not to be by the site.
So what it’s meant is that all the people who were really committed routinely, were not able to support holding the site.
Palestine Action Demonstrator
Yet none of that has fazed these activists who say every moment an Elbit site is forced to close is a triumph for the Palestinian cause.