Pro-Palestine Activists Blockade BAE Systems Factory Over F-35 Jets’ Role in Gaza Genocide

Pro-Palestine activists blockade UK arms factory over F-35 fighter jet production for Israel, sparking protests and calls for UK arms embargo on Israel.

Muhammad Jawad
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Pro-Palestine Activists Blockade BAE Systems Factory Protesting F-35 Production for Israel

Pro-Palestine Activists Blockade BAE Systems Factory Protesting F-35 Production for Israel

Pro-Palestine activists from the group Palestine Action staged a blockade at the four main gates of the BAE Systems Salmesbury Aerodrome Arms Factory near Blackburn, England on Monday. The activists were protesting the factory's production of the rear fuselage for the F-35 fighter jet, which they claim has been heavily used in Israel's bombing of Gaza.

The blockade caused delays on nearby roads as more than 1,000 workers and trade unionists demonstrated outside BAE Systems sites and the London office of the UK Government's Business and Trade department. The protesters, organized by the Workers for a Free Palestine group, chanted slogans like "stop arming genocide" and "solidarity not complicity" while blockading entrances to BAE Systems' facilities in Glasgow and other locations.

The activists said they were aiming to disrupt the production of weapons used in what they called Israel's "genocidal bombing of Gaza" that has killed over 15,000 children in 207 days. This latest protest comes amid a series of demonstrations at the site over the past seven months since Israel's invasion of Gaza, during which over 100,000 people have been killed or injured according to the protesters.

Why this matters: The protests highlight the ongoing controversy over UK arms sales to Israel and the role of British-made weapons in the conflict in Gaza. The issue has drawn increased scrutiny and public pressure on the UK government and companies like BAE Systems to reevaluate their involvement in arming Israel.

The protesters argue that UK arms and military support play a vital role in the Israeli war machine, and they are demanding the government introduce an arms embargo on Israel, which they say is supported by the majority of the British public. Police made three arrests during the protests, which are part of a coordinated effort by pro-Palestine activists to disrupt the manufacture and trade of weapons to Israel in the short term, with the long-term goal of a UK arms embargo.

BAE Systems stated that they "respect the right to protest peacefully" and "comply fully with all applicable defense export controls," which are subject to ongoing assessment. However, the protesters vowed to continue their campaign. "We will be back again and again until BAE Systems stops making weapons used in Israel's war crimes against the Palestinian people," said one activist from Palestine Action. "The UK government must act now to end its complicity in Israel's oppression of Palestinians by immediately suspending all arms sales."

Key Takeaways

  • Pro-Palestine activists blockaded BAE Systems' Salmesbury Aerodrome Arms Factory.
  • Protesters demand UK end arms sales to Israel, citing use in Gaza bombings.
  • Over 1,000 workers and unionists demonstrated at BAE and UK gov't sites.
  • Activists aim to disrupt weapons production used in "genocidal bombing of Gaza".
  • Police made 3 arrests, but protesters vow to continue campaign for arms embargo.