Campaigners block BAE Systems site in Lancashire in latest demonstration against weapons being sent to Israel

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Campaigners have staged protests at BAE Systems in Samlesbury in the latest demonstration against arms being sent to Israel.

The campaign group Workers for a Free Palestine said it had also blockaded sites in Bournemouth, Glasgow and Brighton, some of which are operated by defence giant BAE Systems.

People could be seen blocking the entrance to the BAE Systems site in Samlesbury on Thursday (December 7) with a large “Stop Arming Israel” banner.

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The demonstrators are urging BAE and other companies to end their ties with Israel and cease all weapons, defence and supplies trading with them.

Protesters form a blockade outside Eaton mission systems in Wimborne near Bournemouth (Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)Protesters form a blockade outside Eaton mission systems in Wimborne near Bournemouth (Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)
Protesters form a blockade outside Eaton mission systems in Wimborne near Bournemouth (Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

They are also calling on the UK Government to back a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and are calling for an end to the occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The biggest protest was at Eaton Mission Systems in Wimborne near Bournemouth where around 600 people took part.

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Jenny, a spokeswoman for the Workers for a Free Palestine group, who did not give her surname, said: “The fighter jets these factories help to produce are being used to imprison the people of Gaza in a death trap.

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The biggest protest was at Eaton Mission Systems in Wimborne where around 600 people took part (Credit: Jane Barlow/ PA Wire)The biggest protest was at Eaton Mission Systems in Wimborne where around 600 people took part (Credit: Jane Barlow/ PA Wire)
The biggest protest was at Eaton Mission Systems in Wimborne where around 600 people took part (Credit: Jane Barlow/ PA Wire)

“They are ordered to evacuate when they have nowhere safe to go, while our Government still refuses to back a ceasefire.

“Workers all over Britain are rising up for Palestine, saying we will not allow arms used in a genocide to be supplied in our name and funded by our taxes.

“Our movement is growing rapidly and gaining more momentum each day.

“We are escalating our tactics and today’s blockades are seeing unprecedented numbers of people take part in the disruption of Israeli arms manufacturing in Britain, in concert with workers targeting Israeli arms suppliers around Europe.

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The protests form part of the ongoing campaign against sending arms to Israel (Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)The protests form part of the ongoing campaign against sending arms to Israel (Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)
The protests form part of the ongoing campaign against sending arms to Israel (Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire)

“We won’t stop shutting down these factories until they stop supporting Israel’s murderous war machine.”

Activists claim that BAE systems produces components of weapons sold to Israel, such as the F35 combat aircraft and the Mk 38 Mod 2 machine gun system.

Scott, a youth worker aged 26, who did not wish to give his surname, said: “We are not here to shame or blame workers at BAE.

“The company’s management decides what to produce and who to sell to – it is them we hold accountable for being part of the chain of killing.”

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A BAE Systems spokesperson said: “We’re horrified by the situation in Israel and Gaza and the devastating impact it’s having on civilians in the region and we hope it can be resolved as soon as possible.

“We respect everyone’s right to protest peacefully. We operate under the tightest regulation and comply fully with all applicable defence export controls, which are subject to ongoing assessment.”

Similar protests were held in other European countries on Thursday including France and Denmark.