International actions demand freedom for Palestine Action prisoners

The international campaign to free Palestine Action prisoners is growing, even as the British state continues to ramp up its campaign of repression against direct actionists who have confronted Israeli arms manufacturers and related corporations in the weapons trade. On Wednesday, 9 August, three Actionists who dismantled a factory of the French arms firm, Thales, in Glasgow, to stop its production of weapons for the Israeli occupation army, will begin a four-day trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

Supporters are encouraged to come each day at 8 am to the court to show support with banners and flags. Across Britain, four Actionists are detained and over 100 Palestine Actionists face prison for taking direct action to shut down the production of weapons used against the Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian people. Palestine Action is seeking support from people who can provide court support, mentoring to those facing trial, arrestee support and more. Fill out their form to get in contact!

The Palestinian prisoners’ movement has expressed its support for Palestine Action prisoners, noting that “We condemn the British authorities’ arrest of members of the Palestine Action movement and call on all international legal and human rights organizations to take a serious position, and to take official and popular action to pressure the British government to immediately release the remaining activists, as well as to bring an end to the British complicity with the Zionist apartheid regime, from the issuing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 until the present day.”

Palestine Action marked its third anniversary on 1 August. During that time, two separate Elbit Sytems sites (the Israeli company that provides 85% of the Israeli armed drones used to assassinate Palestinians in Jenin, Gaza and elsewhere) have been shut down, and contracts between the British Ministry of Defence and Elbit Systems were cancelled, cutting off millions of pounds from the Israeli arms dealer.

On Saturday, 22 July, people across Britain and around the world participated in a day of action to free Palestine Action prisoners and drop the charges against Actionists — as well as challenging the Zionist arms industry and its imperialist partners.

In Paris, France, Samidoun Paris Banlieue posted a large solidarity mural with the slogan: “Solidarity with Palestine Action: #FreeTheActionists” on the walls of Paris.

In Toulouse, France, the Collectif Palestine Vaincra — a member organization of the Samidoun Network — issued a solidarity video highlighting the work of Palestine Action:

The Collectif also posted signs and posters throughout Toulouse’s neighbourhoods, calling for freedom for the Palestine Action prisoners and developing the boycott of Israel:

In Vancouver, Canada, Samidoun Vancouver, the Canada Palestine Association and BDS Vancouver – Coast Salish organized a Palestine stand and a march to Scotiabank, one of the major Canadian banks and the largest single foreign investor in Elbit Systems. The Scotiabank branch had closed without explanation as the group arrived, putting a “Temporarily closed” sign on the door seemingly to prevent customers from learning the truth about the bank’s investments in Israeli war crimes.

Meanwhile, people came out in cities across England to show solidarity with Palestine Action, including Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Brighton.

In Manchester, a banner drop and action was organized by Youth Front for Palestine, Manchester Palestine Action and the Manchester PSC, with a massive banner calling for freedom for the Palestine Action political prisoners:

Hastings and Rye PSC held up an Elbit is Guilty sign around Hastings, taking photos with participants to show solidarity:

In Sheffield and London, people came out to rally at the courts to call for the charges to be dropped, and then marched to Barclays bank, which invests millions of pounds in Elbit:

Brighton PSC organized a solidarity stand that shared information about Palestine and showed solidarity with the prisoners;

Birmingham activists came out to rally to free the Palestine Action prisoners and stop the prosecutions.

In Liverpool, marchers took the streets waving Palestinian flag and a large banner calling for freedom for the Palestine Action prisoners.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers also passed a resolution “calling for the release of all Palestine Action prisoners in Britain and for all pending charges to be dropped against Palestine Action activists arrested for their actions confronting weapons manufacturers and their agents.” A number of prominent celebrities, scholars, lawyers and activists, including Roger Waters, South African MP Nkozi Zwelivelile Mandela, MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, and many others, have also spoken out to demand that all charges be dropped against the Palestine Actionists.

The struggle continues — to #ShutElbitDown and to free the Palestine Action prisoners. Palestine Action maintains a resource on their website about the upcoming trials for those who can go in person to provide court support. People around the world can continue to support the campaign, including by writing letters to imprisoned Actionists, who benefit greatly from the global support. Here are some actions that you and your organization can take:

(1) In Britain: Organise a solidarity protest/direct action against your local CPS office or any company which facilitates the production of Israeli weapons. Internationally: Protest at British embassies and consulates and/or any company or entity involved in supporting the Israeli arms trade (eg, Scotiabank in Canada; Elbit properties in the US)

(2) Organise a banner drop or poster run and outreach event in solidarity. You can pre-order flyers and posters here: https://bit.ly/PrisonersOutreach

(3) Post the pictures and videos of your actions online and tag @pal_action or/and use the hashtag #FreeTheActionists

(4) Write solidarity messages to the prisoners which you an send to palactprisoners@protonmail.com

(5) Donate to support prisoners and actionists facing trial at https://palestineaction.org/defence-fund

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