Six Palestine activists charged over £50,000 damage to Israeli-owned UK arms factory

Six Palestine activists charged over £50,000 damage to Israeli-owned UK arms factory
Pro-Palestine activists occupied the AV Engines factory's rooftop on Tuesday, smashing windows and covering walls in red paint.
2 min read
27 February, 2021
The Elbit-owned factory has become the target of several protests [Getty]
Six pro-Palestine activists have been charged with causing  criminal damage after staging a protest at an Israeli-owned arms factory in southeastern England.

The activists, members of the Palestine Action group, caused the AV Engines factory in Shenstone to close on Tuesday after climbing onto the building's roof.

The protesters smashed windows and splashed red paint on the walls of the factory, which is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel's largest private arms firm. Elbit Systems developed the Hermes 900 drone which was used during Israel's attack on the besieged Gaza Strip in 2014. 

The Elbit-owned factory in Shenfield is known to produce parts for drones.

Police arrested the six activists on Tuesday afternoon, holding them for around 48 hours, according to local media reports.

The group appeared in court on Thursday and were charged with causing £50,000 ($69,624) in criminal damage. Police also raided the activists' homes, Palestine Action said.

A smiliar protest in September saw activists occupy the factory's rooftop for three days, costing the firm an estimated £145,000 ($201,912).

Palestine Action has accused police of adopting a harsher approach towards protesters “acting on behalf of Palestinians".

“This is the same non-violent direct action as many groups have taken and are still taking and it disgusts me that the British state acts in this way when you act for the Palestinian people,” Richard Barnard, co-founder of Palestine Action, was quoted by Morning Star as saying.

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