Pro-Palestine protestors blockade UK weapons factory in demonstration over Israel war

More than 150 protestors including teachers and doctors gathered in Kent to demonstrate against the use of weapons in Israel

Maira Butt
Thursday 26 October 2023 18:49 BST
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British workers say they have responded to a call by Palestinian trade unions to “Stop Israeli war crimes"
British workers say they have responded to a call by Palestinian trade unions to “Stop Israeli war crimes" (Workers for a Free Palestine)

Unionists blockaded a weapons factory in Kent for six hours on Thursday, in protest over the war in Israel.

Instro Precision Ltd, a subsidiary of Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit systems, produces military equipment unions say is exported and used by Israeli forces.

The group of around 150 demonstrators included health workers, teachers and academics from unions including Unite, UNISON, the NEU, UCU, the BMA and BFAWU.

An organiser said the group had been at the factory since 7am on Thursday and blocked two entrances for six hours.

“Our presence sent a clear message to the UK government,” said Jeanine Hourani, 29, of the Palestine Youth Movement. “We want to see an end to British complicity in Israeli war crimes, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and the urgent entry of humanitarian aid.

“By gathering as workers outside the factory we categorically rejected the utilisation of British workers in enabling the genocide in Gaza.”

Trade unionists said the UK was “complicit” in the bombardment of the Gaza strip
Trade unionists said the UK was “complicit” in the bombardment of the Gaza strip (Workers for a Free Palestine)

Abbie, an NHS junior doctor and BMA member said: “As an NHS worker, seeing fellow doctors and their patients being killed is unbearable, and following the announcement that the healthcare system in Gaza has collapsed, many of us felt we had no choice but to take this action.”

The protest was organised in response to a call by Palestinian trade unions to “stop Israeli war crimes” and many held placards saying the same.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the last three weeks, the Palestinian authorities say. Israel reports that 1,400 people were killed in Hamas attacks on 7 October.

The escalation of violence has led to calls from the international community for an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian access, which the UK and US have blocked at the UN.

Teachers, doctors and academics were all present in urging the UK government to “Stop arming Israel”
Teachers, doctors and academics were all present in urging the UK government to “Stop arming Israel” (Workers for a Free Palestine)

Elbit systems has been the centre of multiple direct action protests by Pro-Palestinian supporters including one in April last year which led to convictions for obstruction and criminal damage for two protestors.

Kent Police confirmed they made a routine attendance at the protest this morning and that no arrests were made. Instro Precision has been approached for comment.

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