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UK police arrest 33 activists to break siege of Israeli-owned drone factory in Leicestershire

File photo shows members of Palestine Action, a UK-based pro-Palestinian activism group, climbing onto the roof of an Israeli-owned drone production factory in Leicester, Britain.

At least 33 activists with a UK-based pro-Palestinian group have been arrested during a protest siege at the site of an Israeli-owned drone production factory in Leicestershire, with police using “unjustifiable force” to intimidate the crowd.

The Palestine Action group mobilized its members on Monday to lay a siege to the UAV Tactical Systems factory, which is owned by the Israeli regime’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, in an attempt to end the facility's operations on British soil, the group said on its website.

The siege continued into its third day on Wednesday and Leicestershire police moved in again “with all of the force at their disposal” to intimate and detain the activists, despite the peaceful nature of the protest, characterized by speeches, workshops, dance, and community mobilization.

Palestine Action said two of those arrested were its co-founders, Huda Ammori and Richard Barnard, who were taken into custody “for reasons as of yet unclear.”

“The pair’s arrest, unconnected to any events at the site of the factory, demonstrates that the police strategy is one of intimidation and blanket detention,” it noted.

“Leicester residents have made clear that Israel’s war machine is not welcome on their streets,” the group said, asserting that the siege served to “rid Leicester of the stain of complicity in Israel’s crimes.”

According to Palestine Action, the Leicester-based factory regularly sends drones and drone technologies to the occupied territories, where Elbit’s drone products are used for brutal enforcement of the Israeli regime's occupation of Palestine.

The group said it was committed to mobilizing against UAV Tactical Systems, and that the siege will persist regardless of “underhand, unjustified aggression that the police undertake on behalf of Elbit Systems.”

“The Siege of UAV Tactical Systems has so far proved successful: successful in laying bare the reality of police ‘protection’ – their aggressive tactics and arbitrary arrests being used to protect the interests and reputation of a murderous weapons company,” it stated.

Palestine Action emphasized that its ultimate goal in Leicester was “to see UAV Tactical Systems shut down,” adding that its success lies in a community “unifying in opposition to Israel’s arms trade” and standing defiant in the face of “police repression.”

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