Pro-Palestinian activists close Staffordshire drone engine factory with rooftop protest over Gaza
Protesters are in a stand off with police after climbing on to the roof of the plant which they claim is supplying equipment to the Israeli military
Supporters of the London Palestine Action group have entered a stand-off with police after bolting themselves to the roof of a factory which supplies drone engines.
UAV Engines, near Birmingham, is a subsidiary of Israel drone manufacturer Elbit, which protesters claim makes machines used in military attacks on Gaza.
Around a dozen activists chained the factory gates shut and climbed on top of the premises at 5am this morning.
The protesters pitched tents and pledged to stay “as long as it takes” to prevent British-based companies from shipping weapons that could be used against Palestinians in the Gaza conflict.
@LondonPalestine/TwitterSupporters of the London Palestine Action group have entered a stand-off with police and fire crews after bolting themselves to the roof of the UAV Engines building near Birmingham. MirrorDigital @LondonPalestine/Twitter
London Palestine Action commented: “We demand the permanent closure of the factory and an end to all forms of military trade and cooperation with Israel.”
The group claimed that the factory – which is owned by Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems – is manufacturing engines for Israeli drone vehicles.
Demonstrators have draped Palestinian flags and anti-war banners over the building in attempts to publicise their cause.
One banner simply stated: “Elbit arms. Israel kills.”
But UAV Engines Limited could not be contacted at the time of the incident.
The police forced entry into the site with bolt cutters and used industrial cherry pickers to speak to the activists, who claim they have supplies to last a week.
GettyAn Israeli army drone flies over Gaza CityAn Israeli army drone flies over Gaza City earlier this month
A Staffordshire Police spokesperson said: “Police were called to a business premise on Lynn Lane, Shenstone, just after 5.20am this morning following a report of a public protest on top of a building.
“Officers are in attendance to ensure the protest remains peaceful and safe and we are working closely with the business and the protestors. As a result of this activity we have cordoned off Lynn Lane.
“The safety of our officers, the business staff and the protesters is our priority.”
Israel and Palestinian groups began a three-day ceasefire earlier today in a proposal laid out by Egyptian authorities.