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UK activists to block arms factory on Gaza anniversary

Activists in Britain are planning to block an Israel-linked arms factory to mark one year since Israel’s devastating assault on the Gaza Strip.

In what organisers are billing as “the biggest, most beautiful action” ever seen at a UK arms factory, buses of activists from around the country will descend on Shenstone in the West Midlands on July 6 for “a day of creative action in solidarity with Palestine.”

Last August, during Israel’s attack on Gaza, activists occupied the roof of the UAV Engines Ltd factory in Shenstone, which is owned by the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. The drone engine factory was shut for two days as a result, which activists claim cost the company more than £180,000.

Elbit-produced drones are used by the Israeli military, and were used to conduct attacks during ‘Operation Protective Edge’.

A year on, and activists plan to ‘Block the factory’ on July 6, “transforming the space around the arms factory…into a fun, creative and child-friendly environment.” The focus is on “an inclusive and family friendly affair”, activists say.

The planned action is “part of the wider Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) and the Stop Arming Israel Campaign”, with the latter urging “the UK to end its extensive collaboration with the Israeli weapons industry and to institute a two-way arms embargo.”

Organisers note how “anger and disbelief over last year’s massacre led to widaespread and creative forms of resistance”, including “mass demonstrations, occupations of government buildings and complicit businesses, and growing public pressure on governments and arms companies to stop arming Israel.” The intention is for July 6 to be a continuation of such efforts.

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