Weapons Manufact in the Heart of Manchester

Last month an Israeli-owned weapons manufacturer was blockaded by protestors who smeared blood red paint on its walls and chained the gates of the six-story building in Oldham.

Last month an Israeli-owned weapons manufacturer was blockaded by protestors who smeared blood red paint on its walls and chained the gates of the six-story building in Oldham.

Demonstrators painted the front of the Elbit Ferranti factory on Greenacres Road, Waterhead. Two activists climbed onto a ledge and displayed banners with messages such as ‘shut Elbit down’ and ‘Elbit out of Oldham.’

The early morning protest carried out by members of Extinction Rebellion and Palestine Action came weeks after the Ministry of Defence confirmed that Elbit Systems had received a contract worth £102 million for a surveillance system that will allow soldiers to detect and shoot targets within a matter of seconds.

The two direct action groups – in their first collaboration – condemned the British government’s relationship with the arms manufacturer which builds 85 percent of Israel’s military drone fleet. The protestors occupied the premises for about 16 hours and police were involved.

Huda Ammori co-founded Palestine Action seven months ago as a direct action movement. Their aim is to “end UK complicity in Israeli war crimes.”

She added: “We are not a one off movement but will continue to sustain action against all Elbit sites in the UK. The power is in the hands of ordinary people. It is everyone’s responsibility to take a stand against oppression.

“We are currently focusing on taking direct action against the 10 UK based sites belonging to the weapons manufacturer.”

The Haifa based Elbit Systems is a major producer of weaponry for Israel’s military, used in attacks against the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Elbit Systems supplies the Israeli army with drones used in surveillance and assaults on Palestinians. They developed the Hermes 900 which according to a promotional video was “Battle proven…in over 40,000 combat missions,” including when they were first used during Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2014.

During the conflict, 2,250 Palestinians were killed and thousands more were injured, due to persistent bombing of the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip which is one of the most densely populated places in the world. In effect, Elbit markets its equipment with the fact that they have been battle tested against Palestinians.

Far from having an army, Palestine does not even have an airport or a port whereas Israel has the strongest military in the Middle East and is backed by US military and political aid.

Elbit is Israel’s largest private arms contractor that bought the formerly British owned Ferranti Technologies in 2007. Over the past few years, the British government has acquired £45 million worth of military equipment from the weapons firm.

Elbit Ferranti were contacted but refused to comment.

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