Protesters have taken to the roof of a factory in Shenstone as part of an ongoing campaign against the manufacture of military drones.

Protesters on the roof at the UAV Engines site in Shenstone. Picture: Guy Smallman
Protesters on the roof at the UAV Engines site in Shenstone. Picture: Guy Smallman

The Palestine Action group said the UAV Engines site was targeted at 7.15am today (24th January).

The activists have sprayed red paint and damaged windows.

It is the latest action to target the Shenstone site which they say creates parts for Elbut Systems drones used by the Israeli military to target Palestinians.

A spokesperson said they would continue to disrupt the factory in the long term.

“Elbit should know by now that we mean what we say – we will keep occupying, disrupting and dismantling their sites until they leave Britain for good.

“No matter how much security they hire, how much police priority they receive, our activists will find ways to shut them down.

“We’ve taken down one of their factories for good in Oldham and now we’re taking apart the rest.”

Palestine Action spokesperson

The incident follows a previous one earlier this month which saw slogans painted on the walls of the Shenstone factory.

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  1. Let’s see now:
    Criminal damage
    Intimidation of workers
    And I’m sure there are other laws being broken here.

    Why do the police not act ?
    And why do these protesters not have to clean up the mess they leave
    behind ?
    Putting to one side the rights and wrongs of their ’cause’, are they happy that their actions could result in yet more job losses ?

    Sheesh !!!

  2. Why are these ‘people’ not arrested and punished? Can we all now do as much damage as we like to anyone’s property and have no consequence? Are we just heading to a lawless society?

  3. @ML probably due to H&S. They’d need to obtain special harnesses and other safety equipment to get up on the roof, plus I’d imagine they’d need to carry out a risk assessment before they do anything. Sounds silly, but it will be why they can’t do anything. The protestors have positioned themselves in this way to ensure their message is heard as long as possible. Once down from there whenever that is they’ll definitely be in the clink.

  4. The government are in the process of forming legislation to limit the scope of protests. Apparently they can be too loud and hold the traffic up.
    The arms trade is without morality. Asking them nicely to refrain from providing the instruments that are killing their people will result in nothing.
    I don’t condone what they are doing. It will probably be futile anyway. Just another example of man’s inhumanity to man, and a tragic use of good new technology.

  5. Richard if they went to clink when they came down they would not be on the roof they would still be inside from the last time. Unfortunately the police are just a joke and laughing stock. Overpaid and underworked inside their barrackaded castle by the hedgehog

  6. They make engine for drones as used by the RAF and our other forces. It is peoples jobs they want to destroy. Is that ok

  7. What do these idiots want us to do, not have an armed forces, be the only significant nation in the world without one? In these times, with Russia and others behaving as they are? These protesters are not serious people. Utter jokers.

  8. Once again selfish zealots have disrupted the lives of law-abiding citizens. I find this disgusting.

    How dare they pride themselves upon closing a factory and destroying the livelihoods of ordinary citizens!

    Whilst the Police were in attendance at these acts of vandalism they were not able to fulfil their role of maintaining law and order elsewhere.

  9. If the factory was producing armements for our forces then that is legitimate. The article does not say this. To be trading arms in foreign markets is not. Especially in the Middle East with their volatility. We are not an aggressive nation (anymore) but that cannot be said of some countries we seem happy to supply.
    We were party to the circumstances that has evolved into the Israel / Palestine conflict. We should not be doing anything that exacerbates that. I am amazed the government would grant them an export licence.
    Drone technology has many uses. It is not exclusively used to kill innocent people. I don’t think I could have that on my conscience job or no job.

  10. I support the right to peaceful protest but in my opinion breaking into property and then causing disruption and damage to further protest should not be allowed and those who engage in this form of protest should be prosecuted. However, I believe the point Richard made about the difficulties the Police have is probably the frustrating thing for me as it would seem the rights of protesters cross over into rights I think they shouldn’t have, beyond peaceful protest.
    For those of you who sympathise with my view then I’ll irritate you further by suggesting you look up the result of the last court case in Dec 2021 where an attempt was made to prosecute those who caused criminal damage previously, here is an excerpt to get the steam rising……..
    The presiding judge, Judge Waite, stated that the Crown had failed to prove that convicting the defendants would be proportionate with their freedom to protest. He stated further points which included: Palestine is an important issue, the arms trade is an important issue, the defendants believed in what they were doing, and the location was specifically chosen.
    As a result of the above they were set free and it’s probably the same people on the roof now!

  11. They don’t seem to demonstrate outside derbys biggest employer who happens to be in the arms industry producing engines for fighters,bombers and warships

  12. @Jan: “Why are these ‘people’ not arrested and punished? Can we all now do as much damage as we like to anyone’s property and have no consequence? Are we just heading to a lawless society?”

    Rather ironically, one could pose just such questions about the way the Israeli state treats the Palestinians. In fact, the UN has a number of resolutions against the Israelis for breaching international law in their occupation of Palestinian territory.

    For example:

    UN Security Council press release from 23 December 2016:
    “14 Delegations in Favour of Resolution 2334 (2016) as United States Abstains
    The Security Council reaffirmed this afternoon that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.”

    The UK voted in favour of this resolution. Meanwhile, Elbit, an Israeli defence electronics company, continues to operate in the UK.

    Not quite sure why there are quotation marks around the word “people”. Is there a suggestion here that these protesters are somehow less than human? I don’t much like their destruction of property, I am far more comfortable with nice, peaceful protest, but then who knows how history will judge such action? We seem to have a rather more sympathetic view of the way the suffragettes behaved 100 years on – and they went around blowing things up. Food for thought …

    And, by the way, these protesters do get arrested. Six of them have now been arrested for criminal damage and aggravated trespass in Shenstone.

    Meanwhile, the Israelis continue with their illegal settlements of Palestinian territory. According to a report by Amnesty International for the UN: “More than 3,000 homes, vast areas of agricultural land and hundreds of other properties have been destroyed by the Israeli army and security forces in Israel and the Occupied Territories in the past three and a half years.” Criminal damage? Aggravated trespass?

    However much we may disagree with the form these protests have taken, maybe we should all stop and think a bit about what kind of manufacturing is going on in our community and whether or not we really want to support it.

  13. @Clare Sholl : Palestine action have every right to free speech and to protest but this must be done within the law. Most of the comments on LL is about the criminal side of these group your view is more political. If damaging the building doesn’t work what will be the next course of action will it be the employees

  14. @belleview: Let’s be quite clear: I have not said that this group should be acting outside of the law – there are plenty of legitimate ways of making a political point. The fact that half a dozen people are prepared to break the law on this issue doesn’t help their cause, but neither does it change the facts around what this factory does nor the issues that its presence here poses for members of this community.

  15. @ML: I would prefer for people not to be working for an Israeli company which provides drones for the Israeli armed forces who then use them in their conflict with the Palestinians (as they did only last summer with drones supplied by Elbit). I would much rather see an end to this deadly conflict, which has gone on for over 50 years, with a peaceful resolution brought about through people sitting down and talking, not firing missiles at one another. It seems that most of the international community would agree with me. If that means job losses in the arms industry, then that is a price worth paying for peace and lives saved.

  16. They supply drone engines to the MOD as well helping to protect the UK. Good job we were not relying on people with your thoughts back in 1939

  17. ML…. If Scotland gets independence they intend to ban the nuclear submarines currently serviced and moored there in spite of many job losses that will occur. They do not support a nuclear deterrent. Israel has a substantial nuclear arsenal (for no apparent reason) does this add or detract from global safety?

  18. @ML: “Good job we were not relying on people with your thoughts back in 1939.”

    If I had been around in the 1930’s, I would hope that I would have had the courage to speak out against the nationalist, populist Far Right. If enough Germans had spoken out against Hitler, the Nazis could have been prevented from coming to power in the first place. Let’s not forget, the Nazis were democratically elected by people who bought into their propaganda and lies.

    If Elbit’s only customers were the MOD, I would not be objecting to them being in Shenstone, but they are an Israeli company which supplies Israeli armed forces. As is evidenced by the Security Council resolutions, the international community takes issue with the way the Israeli state currently treats Palestinians. By hosting their factories in the UK, we are effectively taking sides in a war, even though we know that Israel is abusing the rights of Palestinians and continues to resettle their land in breach of international law. There can be no winners in this situation – the two groups need to find a way to live alongside one another. More weapons are not the answer, and we should not be facilitating arming either side in this conflict.

  19. May I add to C Scholls point, harking back to WW2, the false patriot default position of conservatives with a defective moral compass, is a red herring as usual. Duck the morality of the current issue if you want with your whataboutery. Every generation of my family has served this country, WW2, Korea, Falklands, Ireland, Afghanistan, so cut the false patriotism.

  20. @Clare Sholl and @John Griffin, very well said both of you. I cannot add anything to your articulate and sensible comments.

    I didn’t know Russia had an empire these days. So if Scotland becomes independent, I can move back there and say ‘Dasvidaniya Angliya’? The Tories are smashing up the Union every day, so maybe that’ll happen…

  21. I must admit I cannot follow belleview’s reasoning in her comment. The SNP has shown its intentions and it shows that they will not support work they consider immoral. No small thing in their economy as many jobs are involved. I was contrasting this attitude to that of Shenstone.
    As for Russia, they were rebuffed from missile sites in Cuba so I doubt Scotland would be any more accommodating. There would also be the Vodka / Whisky conflict to resolve which might well be the catalyst for another war.

  22. I readily confess to knowing nothing about the Boar Wars.

    Who fought in rhem, The Gloucester Old Spots and The Tamworths?

  23. I believe we have a labour shortage.
    Let the weapons makers lose their jobs. They can then do something more useful where their is an economic demand. War is a racket that profits nobody but arms dealers and the politicians that get jobs with the arms dealers when they leave office. It costs the lives of innocent children. Thousands of Palestinian children and all those in other countries where these weapons are exported to.

    A small number of brave Palestine Action activists are do more good work (unpaid) than all the mercenary arms makers in the land.

    All power to them

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