DEMONSTRATE OUTSIDE THALES ARMS FACTORY Manor Royal, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 9HA Friday 8 April 2016, 11am – 1.30pm
20-minute walk from Three Bridges station
(London-Brighton mainline near Gatwick Airport)
Thales (UK) works with the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems to develop the Watchkeeper drone, modelled on Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone used extensively over Gaza. Thales is therefore a major target in the STOP ARMING ISRAEL campaign.
We are calling on campaigning groups in London and the South East to endorse, publicise and come along to this demonstration to give a clear message to Thales that:
they are complicit in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people through their joint enterprise with Israeli arms company Elbit Systems
arms manufacturers are not welcome in our communities.
The UK’s Watchkeeper drone has been developed under a £1 billion joint venture contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence to Thales UK and Israel’s Elbit Systems, allowing the UK military to benefit from technologies that have been ‘field tested’ on the Palestinians.
The Crawley factory is one of Thales’s largest facilities in the UK.
The Watchkeeper drone project illustrates the collaboration between the UK government and Israel, and the joint working between private arms companies from both countries.
The demo outside the Thales arms factory in Crawley on April 8th will be an important part of the campaign for a two-way arms embargo against Israel, as called for by the Palestinian BDS National Committee:
“A comprehensive military embargo on Israel is long overdue. It would form a crucial step towards ending Israel’s unlawful and criminal use of force against the Palestinian people and other peoples and states in the region and would constitute an effective, non-violent measure to pressure Israel to comply with its obligations under international law.” http://bdsmovement.net/activecamps/military-embargo
These are critical times for Palestinians.There is evidence that Israel, supported by its ever-belligerent US backers, is planning another murderous attack on defenceless Gaza civilians, in tandem with its brutal attacks on Palestinian resistance in the Occupied West Bank.
Bring banners and other displays for a lively visual impact at the factory’s surrounding fence!
Friday 11 September: Freedom of Movement for People not Weapons
Saturday 12 September: Big day of action!
STOP THE ARMS FAIR WEEK OF ACTION:
It starts here. Let’s stop it.
In September, the world’s weapons industry plans to arrive in London for a huge arms fair: Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI). The results of DSEI are felt around the world as people are killed, economies are devastated, refugees are traumatised and peaceful protest is crushed.
War starts here: Despite Israel’s brutal attacks on Gaza last summer which Save the Children described as a “war on children”, it will host a pavilion at the arms fair to market its “battle-tested” weapons.
Repression starts here: Despite UK-made weaponry being used to suppress protests in Bahrain, the country’s brutal rulers were among 14 authoritarian regimes invited by the UK government to shop for weapons at DSEI 2013.
Environmental destruction starts here: Governments routinely put military spending before tackling climate change. The UK spends 25 times more on weapons research than research into renewable energy.
Because it starts here, we can stop it here.
We can stand in the way of the arms fair’s business and its devastating impact around the world. Exhibition equipment and military hardware will be rolling (or sailing) into ExCeL – let’s stop it getting to its destination.
Smash EDO will be supporting Brighton PSC’s Remember Gaza event on the 29th of August. See you there!
REMEMBER GAZA, STOP ARMING ISRAEL
Day of Action - Saturday 29th August
Join us for an afternoon of remembrance and protest
We have planned two linked events
You are welcome to join us for either or both of them
1pm - 3pm: Boycott Barclays - investors in death
Demonstration outside Barclays Bank, North Street, Brighton
3pm - 4pm: Remembering the people of Gaza
Assemble at the Clock Tower at 3pm for a dignified procession to Hove Peace
Statue, followed by a scattering of flower petals in memory of the more than
2,200 Palestinians killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza one year ago.
Please bring red or white flowers to participate in this event.
This summer we recall Israel’s dreadful assault on Gaza one year ago. In
July-August 2014, over 50 days of relentless bombing, 2,205 Palestinians
(including 521 children) were killed.
Since a ‘ceasefire’ was announced, Israel has continued to attack Gaza. It
refuses to allow essential building materials into the Gaza Strip, leaving the
Palestinians unable to rebuild. Families continue to live among the rubble of
their houses, without electricity or running water. Aid agencies report that
malnutrition is spreading.
This summer there have been rememberance events all over the world. On August
29th, it is Brighton’s turn. We remind the people of Gaza that they are not forgotten. And we remind our own
government, and British business, that we will not rest until an arms embargo of
Israel is in place, and until UK big business divests from the Israeli military
BACKGROUND TO THE DAY OF ACTION
Stop exporting arms to Israel!
Many of the deadly weapons used by Israel against the people of Gaza were sold
to Israel by arms manufacturers in the UK, with the active endorsement of the UK
government. In 2014 alone, UK arms exports to Israel were worth £40 million.
Stop importing arms from Israel!
Israel is one of the leading arms exporters in the world. It is able to make
huge profits from arms sales, including to the UK, because it markets its
weapons as ‘battle tested’ – primarily against Palestinians in Gaza and the West
The UK government is complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian
people, and will continue to be so as long as it trades arms with Israel. We demand that this trade stop immediately.
Barclays Bank is complicit in war crimes – Boycott Barclays!
Barclays invests heavily in the arms trade. It is the named shareholder in
several major arms firms including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing.
Barclay’s will only divest from the deadly arms trade if its customers show that
they disapprove. This tactic worked in the case of Barclays’ investments in
Apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, and it can work in the case of
Israeli war crimes now.
If you’re a Barclays customer, close your account and tell the company why you
have switched to a more ethical bank such as the Co-operative Bank.
Smash EDO is supporting the upcoming Block the Factory mass action at UAV Engines in Shenstone, a subsidiary of Israeli Elbit systems, on July 6th. Please see https://www.blockthefactory.org/ for updates and further info and follow @blockthefactory on twitter.
Shenstone is a small village outside Birmingham, accessible by National Rail trains. If you are coming from outside Birmingham, this generally means travelling to Birmingham New Street and changing there.
Trains run roughly every 20 minutes from Birmingham New Street, and tickets cost around £4.50. Earliest trains are at 06:01 and the last train returning to Birmingham is at 23:32.
ABOUT THE ACTION
Last summer’s assault on Gaza, which killed over 2,200 Palestinians, was one of the most brutal effects of Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonisation of historic Palestine. The massacre was carried out using drones manufactured by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. In response, activists occupied Elbit’s factory in Shenstone, causing its operations to grind to a halt and costing Elbit over £100,000.
On 6th July, to mark the first anniversary of the assault on Gaza, groups and campaigners from across the UK are going back to Elbit’s factory to demand that the UK stops arming Israel. Join us for a day of creative action in solidarity with Palestine!
Supporting organisations have endorsed the call and will be there taking collective action to block the factory from making these weapons.
We will be transforming the space around the arms factory, converting it from a site of destruction into a fun, creative and child-friendly environment. Let’s create a space that meets our needs and not the needs of Israeli and multinational corporations that export death for profit.
Whether you have never been on a protest before or are a seasoned activist, whether you are disabled, an older person, a younger person, whether you have five children or none, we need you to come and make this the biggest, most beautiful action yet at an arms factory in the UK!
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
If you are active in a Palestine action or solidarity group in the UK, and want to be involved in planning the action, or even just coming along on the day, let us know! Email .
The action is what we make it! Could you run a kids’ space there? Lead a mass lock-on? Set up a craft tent? Run a tranquil space? Coordinate a Palestinian food picnic? Make paper wind turbines – not drones? Buddy up with wheelchair users? Whatever your skills and ideas, they are needed to make the day work. Email
WILL ANYONE ELSE BE GOING FROM WHERE I LIVE?
Groups are travelling to Shenstone from all across the country. Ask your local Palestine solidarity group if they can help you with transport, especially if they’ve endorsed the protest; alternatively, you can ask us if we know of anyone, or post on the Facebook event to see if you can find anyone else?
WHAT TIME IS IT HAPPENING?
We’re going to be getting there for the bright and early time of 7am, and we’re going to bring breakfast. Try and get there for then if you can!
ACCESSIBILITY We want to make the day as accessible and inclusive as possible. If you have access needs or will be coming with children and would like to discuss practical arrangements, please get in in touch by emailing
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME ON THE DAY?
Come rain or shine, we will be there! Please come prepared for all weathers and conditions – bring raincoats, suncream, comfortable shoes, sunglasses and plenty of food and water.
WHAT ABOUT THE POLICE?
We will work together to make the action space as safe and accessible as possible. However, we can’t guarantee that the actions of the police towards us will always be safe. We will have experienced legal observers present on the day, and lots of people who are experienced in dealing with the police. We will have Know Your Rights cards and bust-cards. We recommend that you check out Green and Black Cross before coming along.
WHY THIS FACTORY? WHY ELBIT?
Despite international condemnation, Israeli apartheid, occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people continues. The UK government has done nothing to hold Israel to account for its crimes. Instead, the government is placing profits from the arms trade before justice for Palestinians. Elbit is Israel’s largest arms company. Its Hermes 450 drones have been described as “the backbone” of Israel’s aerial attacks. Elbit’s UK subsidiary, UAV Engines Ltd, manufactures engines for drones, which are exported to Israel and countries around the world. By manufacturing parts for Elbit, UAV Engines Ltd profits from Palestinian suffering. Amnesty International has also previously suggested that engines manufactured at this factory could have been used in attacks on Gaza.
‘Smash EDO support John Catt’s fight for justice in his long running battle against the British surveillance state. We express solidarity with his ongoing legal case despite today’s ruling against him in the UK Supreme Court.
Concerning the judgement handed down today we take this opportunity once again to protest against the misrepresentations made in this case by the Metropolitan Police, namely that campaigners have engaged in violent activities while protesting against the presence of EDO MBM in Brighton.
Firstly nothing that any protester has ever done bears comparison with the violence assisted by EDO MBM’s supply of weapons systems to human rights abusing regimes around the world.
Secondly it is in reality the police themselves who have been found judicially liable of more violent assaults on protesters than vice versa over the years.
Sussex Police civil action payouts for assault, false imprisonment, unlawful arrest and breaches of Smash EDO protesters human rights have indeed helped fund the campaign on many occasions.
Meanwhile no employee or director of EDO MBM has been physically harmed in relation to any Smash EDO protest.
These bare allegations presented as facts by the police are designed to undermine John Catt’s legitimate fight for justice in a case which will have bearing on the rights of us all.
While the British legal system at its highest level seeks to reduce our fundamental rights, we hope John Catt will secure a more just outcome in the European Court.’