Five arrested at Pro-Palestinian protest on roof of Israeli-owned drone factory in Leicester

  • Video footage from Twitter/Palestine Action

Leicestershire Police say five arrests have been made after a large Pro-Palestinian protest at an Israeli-owned drone factory.

The activists have occupied the the roof and surrounding areas of the UAV Tactical Systems factory in Meridian Business Park in Braunstone Town.

UAV is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, an Israeli-based defence electronics company, and also Thales, a French aerospace company.

Police say the protest came to an end with the arrest of two men, one aged 43 from London, and the other, aged 20, of no fixed abode, who were escorted from the roof.

They were both arrested for conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass.

In addition, a man, aged 19 from Leicester, was arrested on the ground for violent disorder and remains in police custody.

Leicester police say "protesters went on to blockade the police van, set flares off and threw missiles at officers. As a result, officers were deployed in full protective equipment."

"As a result, officers were deployed in full protective equipment."

Meanwhile, the campaign group Palestine Action have thanked members of the public and community for coming down and supporting them.

The group's movement "refuses to permit Elbit Systems' operations in local communities and which denounces the British states' continuing complicity in Israeli war crimes."

An estimated 600 protestors have been at the Leicester site, where gates have been chained shut, barricades have been erected, and activists have been chanting "Shut Elbit Down."

Assistant Chief Constable Kerry Smith, who was Gold Commander on the policing operation, said: “We are pleased that this has come to a conclusion and all of the protesters have been brought down safely from the roof. We have had negotiators working around the clock to engage with them.

"We support the right to protest, which is a fundamental human right, however this must be done legally.  Criminal damage such as we have seen here cannot be ignored and as such it is only right that the protesters have been arrested.

"It was disappointing that a small minority chose to become violent towards the end of this protest, injuring two police officers in the process.“

Following a night of unrest in Leicester, on Tuesday morning (25 May) the Palestine Action group announced they have started an occupation of another factory in Tamworth.

The group says activists scaled the roof at 4.30am, forcing the site to close as blood-red paint was sprayed across the front of the factory.