The direct action group Palestine Action (PA) has seven prisoners to support (there was a day of action for them on 22 July) and at least eight trials going on, but PA is still keeping up its campaign of disruption against British weapons factories owned by the Israeli arms company, Elbit Systems.
PA’s ‘siege’ of the UAV Tactical Systems factory in Leicester which began on 1 May was still continuing at the time of writing. UAV is owned by Elbit.
On 9 July, in a new tactic, PA activists blocked the sewage pipes at UAV Leicester, using concrete and other materials, disrupting work at the factory for the following week. The activists themselves escaped detection.
Earlier, on 26 June, Mold crown court handed out prison sentences to four PA activists for ‘conspiracy to commit criminal damage’ at a US printed circuit board factory, Teledyne Labtech, in Presteigne, Wales, in December 2022.
Palestine Action pointed out that ‘Teledyne Labtech took down a page on their website which listed the weaponry their products are used in.’
Manager Adele MacLachlan admitted in court that their products are used for missiles.
Around £320,000-worth of damage was done to equipment in the factory, including to chemical processes which it was said had the potential to form cyanide – a nearby school was locked down briefly.
The factory could not operate for months: securing the facility was said to cost around £900,000, making a total cost of £1.2mn to the firm.
After seven months in prison waiting for trial, Susan Bagshaw, 65, Tristan Dixon, 34, and Morwenna Grey, 41, pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to 23 months in prison. Ruth Hogg, 40, pleaded not guilty and was sentenced to 27 months. They will be in prison until at least November.
PA activists Tony Greenstein, Jeremy Parker, Ibrahim Samadi and Alex Waters are due to be sentenced on 1 September at Wolverhampton crown court, after being convicted on 17 May of going equipped to commit criminal damage at a UAV factory in Shenstone (PN 2666).
The trial of two PA activists who occupied the roof of UAV Tactical Systems in Leicester, in May 2021, was put off from June. Ferhat Ulusu, 43, and Joseph Irving, 20, are due to appear on 18 December at Leicester crown court.