Activists staging a week-long demonstration outside a subsidiary of Israeli arms firm Elbit Systems in the UK have accused British police of using excessive force to crack down on their right to protest, The New Arab reported on Thursday.
Palestine Action organized the sit-in outside UAV Tactical Systems last week in a bid to shut down the factory, where hundreds of protestors have joined and dozens have set up camp.
Police confiscated some of the protestors’ equipment and imposed several conditions on the protest that came into force on April 30.
On Wednesday, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and the Network for Police Monitoring (NETPOL) issued a statement slamming the police actions as “outrageous”.
British Police brutally break up the Palestinian Action Camp outside the Elbit Systems Factory in Leicester, UK. pic.twitter.com/nDu7HNbLkY
— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) May 3, 2023
“The policing operation in Leicester against Palestine Action is outrageous. We not only have a right, but a duty to protest against immoral arms sales,” said Emily Apple, CAAT’s media coordinator.
“The police are showing, once again, that they are there to protect the interests of arms dealers whilst stamping over our right to dissent.”
On Sunday, Leicestershire Police imposed several conditions on the protest, including limiting access to the assembly area and restricting areas where structures can be erected.
Activists took to social media to highlight the police’s confiscation of their equipment, which was later replaced by local people who came to their aid.
CAAT and Netpol added that the right to protest is under threat in the UK, warning that the government’s new Public Order Act will restrict protest to the “most minor inconveniences”.
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