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Pro-Palestine activists shutting down arms factories that aid Gaza genocide

By Press TV Staff Writer

A group of pro-Palestine activists on Monday blocked the driveway entrances to Lockheed Martin subsidiary ForwardEdgeASIC in the western US state of Minnesota for aiding the genocide in Gaza.

The demonstrators held banners that read “No money for weapons” and “Divest from Lockheed.”

Minnesota Anti-War Committee (AWC), an advocacy group that organizes street protests against US aid to the Israeli regime, in a post on X on Monday described the action as a “victory.”

“VICTORY!! Production was stopped ALL DAY at ForwardEdge ASIC, Lockheed’s subsidiary in St. Paul that makes microelectronics for weapons systems,” the tweet stated.

“Activists with the Free Palestine Coalition blocked entrances & faced down police for almost 8 hours! Building got decorated too!”

Andrew Josefchak, a member of the Minnesota AWC, was quoted as saying that they want Lockheed out of their city as it aids the genocide of civilians in Gaza.

“The reason why I’m here today specifically is because Lockheed’s bombs and jets are being used to massacre civilians,” he stated, noting that Lockheed provides weapons used by Israel to bomb Gaza.

As a mark of protest against the Israeli regime’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has assumed alarming proportions, activists in Western countries have also upped the ante.

In recent weeks, pro-Palestine advocacy groups have intensified their campaign against corporations and industries that aid the occupying regime’s war crimes against Palestinians in the besieged territory.

On Sunday, the Minnesota AWC organized a rally on the bridge over the Mississippi River that saw the participation of thousands of protesters, who marched to Minnesota Governor Walz’s Eastcliff house.

“There is blood on the hands of not only these companies, but also Governor Tim Walz and his SBI for continuing to invest in these companies, and yet when we cry out for Israeli bombs to stop for good, when we demand an end to the brutal, unjustified occupation, we're called anti-Semites,” Skyler Dorr, a worker at the University of Minnesota, was quoted as saying by Fightback News.

“We don't want to teach our kids that genocide is okay, and we don't want teachers fired for speaking out against Israel,” Drake Myers, a member of the Minnesota AWC, stated.

According to reports, the aerospace and weapons industry has seen a significant jump in profits after Israel launched its murderous attacks on Gaza on October 7.

As President Joe Biden’s $14 billion military aid for the Tel Aviv regime awaits congressional green light, companies such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing are likely to have a big boost in profits.

It has enraged pro-Palestine activists in the US and other Western countries who have been organizing peaceful demonstrations and forcing the closure of factories belonging to these corporations.

Hundreds of pro-Palestine activists staged a protest at one of the entrances to US Air Force Plant 44 in Arizona on November 2, which Raytheon, a major US military contractor, operates. 

“The bombs and the rockets and all those weapons of mass destruction are made in the US, so everybody needs to be held accountable who participates in this genocide, either directly or indirectly,” Abdulaziz, who attended the demonstration, was quoted as saying by Prism Reports. 

Five days later, on November 8, half a dozen activists were arrested after they held a die-in protest outside the arms company’s offices in Arlington, Virginia. The protestors, however, remained unfazed.

On November 13, protesters stormed a Raytheon factory in California’s El Segundo, blocking its gates.

Similar demonstrations have been held against other military contractors as well, such as Boeing, which is one of the biggest arms importers to the Israeli regime.

A report in Bloomberg last month, citing unnamed US officials, said the company has accelerated the delivery of around 1,800 kits “that convert unguided bombs into precision munitions.”

On November 6, pro-Palestine demonstrators blocked the entrances to a Boeing factory in Missouri.

It was followed by another protest on November 9 outside the headquarters of Northrop Grumman in San Diego.

Northrop Grumman, according to the Mapping Project, sells “extensive amounts of weapons and military technologies to Israel, as well as the US military and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).”

“Northrop Grumman is deeply complicit in Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and theft of Palestinian resources,” it states.

Pro-Palestine activists have also been targeting Elbit Systems, in both the US and the UK, in recent weeks. The largest weapons supplier to Israel has seen a staggering rise in its stocks since October 7.

On October 31, more than two weeks after Israel launched its genocidal attacks on Gaza, Palestine Action US “completely halted” a factory of Elbit Systems in Boston.

Hundreds of demonstrators chanted “Elbit Systems has got to go” and “You’re defending genocide of children”, calling for the closure of the arms factory.

According to its website, the American subsidiary of the arms company has operational facilities in the US states of Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Virginia and Florida.

Before the crackdown on the Boston plant, pro-Palestine activists also forced the closure of Elbit Systems’ Cambridge facility, “to prevent Elbit employees from going to work.”

“The weapons Israel is deploying to surveil, maim, and mass murder Palestinians are supplied by a company that operates right here in our city,” said the statement issued by the community members.

“Elbit weapons are being used to murder Palestinians right now. We will not let Elbit continue business as usual! Weapons companies don’t belong in our neighbourhoods!”

Palestine Action UK has also intensified its actions against Elbit Systems factories in England since October 7, with their activists even climbing the roof of the factory in the city of Lichfield.

“Palestine Action activists occupy the roof of the Israeli weapons factory Elbit Systems in the town of Shenstone, England, in protest of its production of equipment used in Israel's murder of innocent Palestinians,” Palestine Action UK said in a statement on October 31.

Since July 2022, when pro-Palestine activists stormed the headquarters of Elbit Systems in London, the group has frequently targeted the company factories in different cities across the UK.

The group has permanently shut down at least two Elbit plants in less than two years, including its London headquarters and a Ferranti factory in Oldham, according to Counterfire.

In recent weeks, they have blockaded the entrance of the company’s Bristol plant, shutting down its operations. They have also closed the company’s factory in Kent.

Declassified UK recently revealed that the British government has approved at least £472m in arms sales to the Israeli regime in the past eight years, ignoring the genocide in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, eight Palestine Action activists, including the group’s co-founders, face trial at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court for their protests against Elbit Systems

In Canada, pro-Palestine activists on Monday blocked a Canadian National Railway line in downtown Winnipeg, calling for an immediate halt to Tel Aviv’s unchecked aggression on Gaza.

The protesters, who carried Palestinian flags and signs that read "ceasefire now" and "Palestine will never die”, forced at least two trains to halt.

CN partners with Israel's largest shipping company Integrated Shipping Services (ZIM). A protester was quoted as saying by CBC that CN is “very vital” for Israel to access the North American market.

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