Workers For A Free Palestine blockade the Elbit site in Kent (Picture: Guy Smallman)

In a show of solidarity with Palestine, around 150 trade unionists and activists blockaded the site of Instro Precision Ltd in Sandwich, Kent, on Thursday.

It is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, one of Israel’s largest arms manufacturers. It produces 85 percent of Israel’s combat and surveillance drones and 85 percent of its land-based military equipment.

Many Elbit products are linked directly to the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The action, organised by Workers For A Free Palestine, began at 7am and blocked both entrances to the factory and halted all deliveries.

Among the trade unionists involved were members of the RMT, Unite and IWGB unions. There were also workers who had recently been on strike.

Many waved Palestine flags. It was a positive, determined and defiant atmosphere of people who want to show their solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.

The police took an hour to arrive and quickly realised they did not have the numbers to shift the protesters. They were reduced to traffic management and waiting for additional resources.

At one entrance, activists gathered behind a banner saying, “UK—stop arming Israel”. At the other the banner read, “Workers For A Free Palestine.”

The action comes in response to a call from Palestinian trade unions. They’re asking for the international labour movement to “end all forms of complicity with Israel’s crimes” by halting the trading of arms, all funding, and military research.

At 10am, the blockade was continuing and protesters hoped to stay throughout the day.

Meeting tonight, Palestine, resistance and the struggle for freedom with historian, Ilan Pappé, Irish TD Richard Boyd Barrett, author Tariq Ali, Palestinian Refaat Alareer writer live from Gaza, and anti-Zionist Jewish socialist, Sophia Beach. Thursday 26 October, 7pm, at Resource for London, N7 6PA
March on Saturday in London 12 noon, Embankment, details here, and in Scotland details here

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