Around 50 pro-Palestine activists protest outside Teledyne arms company in Bradford

Pro-Palestine protesters picketed firms that provide arms for Israel in Cheltenham, Edinburgh and Bradford on Wednesday. 

In Cheltenham, 400 people picketed GE Aviation Systems, which manufactures components of the F35 fighter jet—currently used by Israel in its bombardments of Gaza. It was made up of workers from several trade unions, including health workers, tech workers, school workers and university workers, under the banner of Workers For A Free Palestine.

Sonia, who travelled from London to the Cheltenham picket, told Socialist Worker, “We want to have a negative impact on a company complicit in Israel’s genocide.

“Whenever a worker arrived at the factory, organisers spoke to them and explained why we were picketing. One of senior management arrived and was angry about having to turn back. Tens of delivery trucks were forced to turn away.

“The police got there as soon as we arrived but people were motivated all the way through the picket. And there was a huge amount of support. Cars stopped and honked in solidarity.” 

Sonia slammed the British government’s arming of Israel, saying, “I’m ashamed to be British right now. Everything the government is doing I completely disagree with.

“People in power are trying to get us to close our eyes and ignore what’s happening in Gaza. It’s disgraceful. The government isn’t even doing the bare minimum of condemning Israel.”

She added, “We need to shut down arms manufacturers and disrupt any company complicit with sending arms to Israel. We are saying to the government and companies that we need to stop Britain’s complicity.

“Picketing an arms factory every few months isn’t enough. We need to picket much more and shut down factories more frequently”.

At the Cheltenham picket, someone with family in Gaza gave a speech. “They have nowhere to go,” they said. “They are going to be pushed into Egypt. This is what the world is witnessing. My people are being killed in cold blood.”

Zad, a housing support worker, said, “Israel is on the brink of invading the area they told the people of Gaza it was safe for them to flee to. Such atrocities could not take place without the political and military support of governments like Britain.

“We’re taking action to stop the flow of arms from Britain to Israel before it launches an illegal assault on Rafah. The United Nations has made clear will cause catastrophic levels of death and destruction and plunge Gaza into famine.”

Laura, a trade unionist helping to organise the protest, blasted the Tories’ new definition of extremism. “In response to the strength of the solidarity with Palestine among the British public, the government is seeking to instead suppress this and crack down on our rights to protest under the guise of anti-extremism,” she said.

In Edinburgh, around 100 trade unionists blockaded entrances to Leonardo UK, which also produces components for F-35 fighter jets. The picket of Leonardo was also organised by Workers For A Free Palestine.

Cam, a local resident who joined the protest, told The Edinburgh Reporter, “As local residents we don’t want murder being manufactured on our doorstep. It makes us feel complicit.

“We couldn’t stand silently while a factory down the road resources massacre. We had to act.”

In Bradford, around 50 people protested at a Teledyne Technologies factory. It’s a US multinational corporation that produces surveillance and targeting equipment used in the genocide in Gaza.

The protest was organised by Bradford Friends of Palestine and was the sixth protest at Teledyne. The mood was lively, with chants of, “Your profits are covered in Palestinian blood,” ringing out.

Weapons made in Britain are being used to prop up Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Every manufacturer that helps to produce arms supplied to Israel has blood on their hands. We need more workplace action to stop Britain supplying Israel.

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