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UK: Pro-Palestine activists occupy Israeli drone maker's London offices

Palestine Action says it is currently preventing operations at Elbit Systems' headquarters in Holborn
The direct action on Friday occurred in the week of Palestine Action's first anniversary of its campaign against Elbit Systems (VX Pictures)

Pro-Palestinian activists have occupied the London headquarters of the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems.

Friday's takeover of the offices in Holborn is the latest in a series of direct action protests by Palestine Action against Elbit, whose drones have been used in combat over the skies of Gaza.

In a statement, Palestine Action said it had scaled the entrance of Elbit's building and was "currently occupying the site and preventing operations".

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"The facade of the building has been covered in spray-painted calls to 'evict Elbit', 'Shut Elbit Down' and 'Free Palestine'," it said. 

"The site premises have been sprayed completely red to signify the bloodshed from which Elbit profits, with their UK-made drones and military tech being used to commit war crimes and repression in Palestine and across the globe."

The organisation said that alongside those currently occupying the site, a group of protesters had turned up to demand Elbit are evicted from their London offices, adding that a group of drummers had shown up in solidarity.

Palestine Action said Elbit's drones had been used by Israeli forces to bombard and surveil Palestinian civilians before they entered the global market, where they were sold as "battle-tested" and "field proven" to repressive governments around the world. 

Court case postponed

Elbit's headquarters have been targeted several times by Palestine Action, and Friday's direct action occurred in the week of the organisation's first anniversary of its campaign against the Israeli company.

Past protests have taken place at sites linked to the company, including in the county of Kent, the Greater Manchester area, Runcorn and Leicester.

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According to Palestine Action, it has disrupted Elbit's operations for 105 days out of 365, across the company's 10 UK sites, plus those of their drone parts supplier APPH.

In May, five members of the organisation had been due to appear at Stafford Crown Court, following their protest at a weapons factory owned by Elbit.

The trial was set to take place amid Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, in which more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed over 11 days of air strikes. However, in a last-minute decision, the court case was adjourned until 2022.