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UK Protesters Arrested After Occupying Factory Supplying IDF Drone Engines

After 36 hours, protest that garnered international attention cut short by local police.

One of the last three protesters to be arrested waving a Palestinian flag on the roof of the UAV Engines Limited factory in Shenstone, England. (Credit: facebook/London Palestine Action)

The nine UK protesters occupying a factory that supplies drone engines to the Israel Defense Forces were all arrested on the roof of the building on Wednesday evening after remaining on top of it for over 36 hours in a standoff with local police and successfully shutting the factory down during that time.

It's not clear what prompted the arrests, as police had previously vowed to find a "peaceful resolution" to the standoff.

The group London Palestine Action chained the factory gates shut and chained themselves to the roof of the UAV Engines Limited factory in Shenstone, England, around 5 a.m. Tuesday, saying they had enough food to stay a week.

The Staffordshire police arrived on the scene around 5:20 a.m., shut down access to the road and issued a statement saying that "Officers are in attendance to ensure the protest remains peaceful and safe and we are working closely with the business and the protestors."

A number of emergency response vehicles showed up, and police in a cherry-picker tried to engage the protesters in conversation.

The protest gained traction on social media throughout the day, and had garnered international news coverage from a number of outlets by Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday morning the group sent out a tweet showing an activist locked to the door of the building.

A few hours later, the group tweeted that the activist had been arrested, but the rest of them were staying put.

The activists had been sending out calls for support on the ground via social media since Tuesday evening, and had specifically been calling for supporters to be there at 12:30 on Wednesday. The protesters on the ground participated in a 'die-in' among other forms of support.

Around 6:30 p.m. local time this tweet went out:

About an hour later, the first activist on the roof was arrested. About an hour after that, the planned week-long protest had come to a premature end.

UAV Engines Limited is a subsidiary of the Israel defense systems company Elbit. The company's stock recently reached a four-year high after climbing 6.1 percent between July 8 and 29, in the midst of Israel's latest attack on Gaza.

The full timeline of the group's protest can be seen below through their Twitter updates.


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