Three activists from Palestine Action stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which the group says manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone. (VX Pictures)
- Héroux-Devtek, which owns APPH, denied that it supplied parts to Elbit
- Palestine Action alleges that drones manufactured by Elbit are used to ‘bombard and surveil Palestinian civilians before entering the global market’.
LONDON: Pro-Palestinian activists stormed a factory run by a Canadian-owned aerospace company in northern England on Thursday.
The protesters claimed the plant supplies components for an Israeli drone manufacturer.
Three activists from Palestine Action “at 4:30 a.m. stormed, scaled, and occupied the Runcorn Factory of APPH, which manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit Systems’ drone,” the group said.
“This is why as Palestine Action we targeted this company…and as part of the campaign growing to #ShutElbitDown, we are now expanding and targeting suppliers who would provide parts for the Israeli weapons, and also the companies who are housing them in their premises, because without these companies Elbit would not be able to operate,” Huda Ammori, co-founder of Palestine Action, told Arab News.
Palestine Action alleges that drones manufactured by Elbit are used to “bombard and surveil Palestinian civilians before entering the global market, sold as battle-tested to repressive regimes across the globe.”
However Héroux-Devtek, which owns APPH, denied that it supplied parts to Elbit, the BBC reported.
The company’s president and CEO Martin Brassard, said Héroux-Devtek had designed and manufactured the nose landing gear for the British Watchkeeper WK450 surveillance drone for use with the British Army.
“Since the initial manufacturing was completed around 2012, Héroux-Devtek has been involved with the low-level maintenance of the NLG to support the ongoing operational use of this aircraft with the British Army via our customer UTACS,” he said.
“The equipment and services we provide for this equipment have never been exported, with EUU (End User Undertaking) statements for UK only.”
Amoori said activists occupying the site are intending to be as disruptive as possible, adding that police arrived at the scene at around 6 a.m.
The protesters were still on the roof late into Thursday evening.
Cheshire police said their role was to impartially allow for protesting, while ensuring that others can continue in their legitimate business activities, or commuting.
“However where offenses are committed we will take action,” the statement added.
Amoori said she expected the activists to remain on the roof for a while.
The storming of APPH Runcorn, near Liverpool, follows a similar protest on Wednesday at the headquarters of LaSalle Investment Management, who are the landlords of Elbit’s London offices.
The group has vowed to continue to target all “complicit suppliers, landlords, shippers, financiers, and more” that Elbit rely on for their operations.
On May 26, Palestine Action occupied the Elbit factory in Tamworth. “We have occupied three factories in the past month, and we have taken action against Elbit’s landlords as well,” Amoori added.