Protesters gathered at a General Dynamics factory in Saco, Maine on January 3, 2024.

(Photo: Lisa Savage/X)

Maine Protest Urges General Dynamics to 'Stop Arming Israel's Genocide'

"Why do we tolerate this massive bomb factory here in Maine, exploiting the toils of local workers to aid with the intentional mass murder and displacement of innocent children and families in Palestine?"

Defenders of Palestinian rights on Wednesday organized a campout protest at a General Dynamics factory in the city of Saco, Maine to pressure the weapons giant to "stop arming Israel's genocide in Gaza."

The demonstrators, led by the Maine Coalition for Palestine, arrived at the roadway leading into the factory before dawn in an effort to prevent workers from entering the facility.

"Genocide in Gaza is currently supported by General Dynamics," said organizer Lisa Savage of Solon in a statement. "It supplies Israel with the artillery ammunition and bombs used to kill and maim civilians and children in Gaza—which is illegal collective punishment."

Since the Hamas-led attack that set off the war on October 7, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have killed more than 22,000 Palestinians in Gaza, injured over 57,000 more, and devastated civilian infrastructure including homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques. A growing number of world leaders and legal scholars have accused Israel of genocide.

General Dynamics—which is headquartered in Virginia but has locations across the United States and around the world—is among a few dozen companies identified in an American Friends Service Committee database as aiding the U.S.-backed Israeli war effort with 155mm caliber artillery shells and the metal bodies of the MK-80 bomb series.

"Since October, more than 5,000 of the 500-lb MK-82 bombs—some made in Saco—have been given to Israel by the U.S.," said Yusuf Ebrahim, an Iraqi American physician who participated in the protest. "These munitions play a particularly direct role in the ongoing criminal genocide of Palestinians by the IDF, targeting densely populated areas such as the Jabalia refugee camp."

"Why do we tolerate this massive bomb factory here in Maine, exploiting the toils of local workers to aid with the intentional mass murder and displacement of innocent children and families in Palestine?" Ebrahim continued. "Meanwhile, many local community members suffer from hunger and housing insecurity and cannot afford medical care."

Members of the Maine Coalition for Palestine include the groups Healthcare Workers for Palestine, the Maine Natural Guard, the Maine Party for Socialism & Liberation, Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights, Portland CONFRONT, and Students for Justice in Palestine from college campuses in the state.

The coalition's Wednesday action came after a demonstration last month that drew more than 100 protesters to Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics subsidiary that builds ships for the U.S. military.

The Bangor Daily Newsreported that Cecil Carey of Skowhegan, a teacher who spoke at the December event, said the group was protesting in Bath because the U.S. government has "got money for war but can't feed the poor."

"I do not want my tax dollars going to bomb people in the Middle East," Carey said. "I want my tax dollars helping my students and their families."

The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military aid each year and U.S. President Joe Biden has responded to the Israeli assault on Gaza by asking federal lawmakers for an additional $14.3 billion package that is still under consideration. Since the war began, the Biden administration has also twice bypassed Congress to enable arms sales to Israel.

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