Solidarity with jailed Elbit protestors

JVL Introduction

Two activists from the group Palestine Action have been jailed after being arrested with four others in what appears to have been a move to preempt protests against Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems.

The six were arrested in Walsall in the early hours of Tuesday morning after the vehicle they were traveling in was pulled over by police. They were sent to Wolverhampton Magistrate Court charged with “possession of articles to cause criminal damage”.

The court refused bail for two of them – an unusual decision for a minor charge. They are now in jail, facing four weeks or more in prison until a court hearing next month.

statement from Palestine Action accuses the police of “launching a wholly disproportionate response to the activists ongoing campaign to shut down Elbit sites in the UK, a firm responsible for war crimes in Gaza and exporting killer drones to oppressive regimes across the globe.”

Jewish Voice for Labour sends solidarity to the jailed activists.

We publish the group’s press release below.

Update 5pm March 12. A bail hearing is now set for 10.00 a.m. next Tuesday at Wolverhampton crown court.

See also this petition calling on the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) not to use drones, including those manufactured by Elbit, to enforce Europe’s deadly anti-immigration policies.


Activists from Palestine Action remanded in prison as police crackdown continues

Date: 11th March 2021

for immediate release

  • Six activists from Palestine Action were arrested on Tuesday morning for allegedly carrying items including paint
  • Two have been remanded in prison for “possession of articles to cause criminal damage”
  • Notably, two of the activists remanded were part of the Stop HS2 campaign, one of whom spent several weeks in the Euston tunnels

Two Palestine Action activists have been put behind bars after a court shockingly refused to grant them bail yesterday(March 10).

The two were among six activists arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning for allegedly carrying items which may be used for criminal damage. After being refused police bail, the activists were sent to Wolverhampton Magistrates Court.

The court refused to provide bail for two activists and sent them to prison, while the other two were released. The homes of the activists were raided by police whilst they were held in custody.

Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against Elbit Systems’ UK locations at grassroots level, calling for them all to be shut down and for the British government to end its complicity in Israeli apartheid.

Commenting on the decision to send the two activists to prison, a spokesperson for Palestine Action said:

“The UK government, its courts and its police, continue to do nothing to stop Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems, from developing weapons tested upon children and refugees in occupied Palestine. Instead, choosing to harass, detain & incarcerate those who challenge & resist their crimes against humanity. 

It is therefore our moral duty to use our privilege and to join the growing struggle fighting to end this complicity between Britain & Israel’s Apartheid regime. We call on all people of conscience to join our struggle against this ongoing, murderous complicity, to join the fight to Shut Elbit Down and end all complicity between Britain & Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.”

The two could be forced to spend at least four weeks in prison until potentially being granted bail at their upcoming court date next month.

The unusual decision to refuse bail over a minor charge is yet another escalation in the ongoing campaign of oppression and intimidation against activists allegedly linked to Palestine Action.

Since the direct action network was founded in August 2020, activists have been routinely arrested on spurious charges, had their houses raided and devices confiscated.

Co-founder Richard Barnard was arrested in February for “blackmail”. He and co-founder Huda Ammori had their house raided and passports seized. The documents have not yet been returned.

Barnard and Ammori were even stopped in November 2020 under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which enables police officers to interrogate individuals without the standard safeguards.

Palestine Action has accused the police of launching a wholly disproportionate response to the activists ongoing campaign to shut down Elbit sites in the UK, a firm responsible for war crimes in Gaza and exporting killer drones to oppressive regimes across the globe.

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest private arms manufacturer and provides the Israeli military with over 80% of its drone fleet, including the Hermes 450 and 900, used extensively in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in 2014, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed.

Commenting on the police crackdown of Palestine Action, Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) campaign coordinator Kevin Blowe said:

“Using counter-terrorism police powers, bringing wholly disproportionate charges and essentially treating Palestine Action campaigners as though they are some kind of organised crime network is a deliberate attempt to disrupt protests in solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people. 

“The implication that the group is some kind of ‘extremist’ threat provides a justification for police surveillance and harassment. It means that all those associated with Palestine Action may also be labelled in this way – even if they do nothing unlawful. 

“Unfortunately, we have seen the state act in this way many times before, especially when corporate interests are challenged by civil disobedience and direct action. This is designed to wear people down, alienate potential public support and restrict campaigners’ ability to exercise their rights to freedom of assembly and association.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Palestine Action

Elbit Systems

Police targeting of human rights activists

Donate towards the numerous devices confiscated from activists by police: https://palestineaction.org/donate/

Comments (2)

  • Les says:

    Humbling.

    Well done them.

    Lets share this… get it onto as many Labour Facebook and Twitter pages as possible… and the Jewish Chronicle… and anything with large numbers of followers.

  • Chris Proffitt says:

    I’m shocked at how naive I am about the extent of this type of arms production in this country. Why have we not heard of these protests at these factories from our media? It seems that Julian Assange wont be the only political prisoner held in this country. Very worrying.

Comments are now closed.