It’s been over a week since Palestine Action started their siege against Leicester’s Israeli weapons factory ‘UAV Tactical Systems’. Here’s a run down of some of the goings-on.
A heavy police and private security presence in anticipation of the siege didn’t stop activists setting up camp in the trees near the factory. Going unnoticed by the police for an embarrassingly long time.
A camp was also set up in the road directly in front of the factory, with folks pitching tents on the tarmac. Despite police kettling protesters, making many arrests and confiscating a lot of supplies at the camp, it was rebuilt and remains with the strong support of the local community. The heavy handedness of the police saw 33 people arrested by Wednesday, just 3 days into the siege. 5 more were arrested yesterday for allegedly breaking police orders telling them where to stand. Police have broken into cars by smashing windows and even cut the traverse of a climbing activist, intentionally putting their life at risk. A continuous armed police presence aims to intimidate any dissent. The arrests have not been limited to onsite as two main pal-action organizers nowhere near the factory were followed by surveillance and arrested on the motorway before being transferred to Leicester. Currently, everyone arrested has been released but with restrictive bail conditions.
While some people have been locked on in the road or occupied trees, many others have been doing dabke workshops, listening to speeches and playing football. In spite of police violence, it appears spirits are high. If you’d like to support, PalAction have and continue to call for boots on the ground day or night, location postcode is LE19 1WZ. If coming by car, parking away for your safety and anonymity is advised.