Palestine Action activist being arrested after the group occupied the Bristol premises of Elbit Systems

Pro-Palestine campaigners today occupied the Bristol premises of the Israeli defence company Elbit Systems. Activists linked to the direct action network Palestine Action broke into the company’s offices in Bristol, smashing windows, causing damage to the building’s interior, dismantling officers and barricading themselves inside. Other campaigners occupied the roof and blocked road access to the site.

Palestine Action claim the campaigners targeted Elbit Systems in order to ‘demand an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid’. The firm has been an ongoing target for the campaign group in recent months, with similar actions taking place at other company premises including in London and Oldham.

The action comes at a time of heightened criticism of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, following the killing of the Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqlah. Witnesses of her death and Palestinian journalists have reported she was shot in the head by the Israel Defence Forces. Following her death, Israeli police have faced widespread condemnation for attacking mourners and her coffin during her funeral procession.

In addition, the Palestine Action occupation took place on the 74th Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians during the creation of the state of Israel and during the 1947-1949 Palestine War.

Speaking on their latest occupation, the Palestine Action group said,

We aim to permanently disrupt the Britsh-Israeli weapons trade by haulting Elbit’s production of weapons on British shores. Our mission to #ShutElbitDown will continue to target every Elbit location and complicit party, across Britain. As the ongoing Nakba continues, so do our efforts to dismantle Britain’s role in supporting Israeli apartheid.

Palestine Action have stated that nine people have been arrested following the action.

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Image credit: Guy Smallman