Palestine and its supporters were the subject of a day of international protest

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People have taken action in the UK, Canada, and France over the imprisonment of UK pro-Palestine activists. It came after high-profile campaigners, including Roger Waters, issued a joint statement condemning the British state’s persecution of the six people over their activism against the state of Israel.

Imprisoned for resisting Israel’s apartheid

As the Canary has reported, the British state is currently detaining six activists. It’s over their part in protests about the Israeli state’s ongoing apartheid against the Palestinian people – including its illegal occupation. Specifically, the protests were over UK-based arms companies, and their supply chains, that sell weapons and military kit to Israel.

Four of the activists have been in prison since December 2022. It’s because they took action to dismantle Teledyne Labtech – a Welsh factory belonging to American-owned Teledyne. The company is the largest exporter by volume of weapons from Britain to Israel. As campaign group Palestine Action said:

The four activists are the longest serving prisoners for taking action with Palestine Action to disrupt the war machine. Their incarceration demonstrates Britain prioritising the interests of an arms industry which facilitates the genocide of the Palestinian people, over the freedom of its own citizens.

The two other activists are locked up over an action they took in June 2021 at company APPH. It makes drone landing gear for Elbit Systems, which supplies 85% of Israel’s military drones. One of the jailed activists is Mike Lynch-White. He and others covered APPH’s building in red paint, scaled the roof, and destroyed equipment. Palestine Action said of the two activists:

They both took action to disrupt the military industrial complex which profits from the blood shed of the Palestinian people and the apartheid regime they’re subjugated too. For this, they should not be imprisoned.

So, after support from 80 public figures, including Waters, and also a separate statement from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement, Palestine Action organised a day of protests.

Read on…

Global solidarity with pro-Palestine activists

On Saturday 22 July, hundreds of people came out to call for the freedom of Palestine Action political prisoners. In England, people demonstrated in Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Brighton:

In Sheffield specifically, people took action against Barclays. As the Canary recently reported, the bank, according to the group Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), has:

over £1 billion in shares and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwriting to 9 companies whose weapons, components, and military technology have been used in Israel’s armed violence against Palestinians.

Activists also took direct action to “shatter” windows at Keysight Technologies in Telford. It’s a supplier to Elbit Systems:

Then, there was also international solidarity.

Groups including Samidoun and Collectif Palestine Vaincra put posters up around France:

In Canada, people mobilised outside Scotiabank in Vancouver. It holds half a billion dollars in shares in Elbit:

A ‘desperation’ to protect a foreign apartheid state

A Palestine Action spokesperson said in a press release:

For the state to turn to imprisoning its own citizens, demonstrates their desperation to protect the military supply chain of a foreign apartheid state. The show of solidarity from across the world in support of our activists in prison, and others facing prison, for disrupting the production of Israeli weapons, shows the strength of our movement. Collectively, we will resist until all Israeli weapons factories in Britain are shut down and the activists, as well as the Palestinian people, are free.

As the Canary has documented, the state increasingly criminalising protest is becoming a lot more common and authoritarian as a result of the Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts (PCSC) Act. The state jailing pro-Palestinian activists is the thin end of this wedge – but groups like Palestine Action will continue, regardless.

Featured image via Palestine Action


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