Above Photo: bit.ly/LeicesterSiege.
From May 1st, Palestine Action will lay siege to Leicester’s Israeli arms factory, UAV Tactical Systems. The mass action will include hundreds staying put for weeks on end, through day and night, refusing to leave until Elbit does. Drawing parallels with the decades-long siege of Gaza , Palestine Action’s siege will symbolically turn this process on its head and cut off Leicester’s link to Israel’s military supply chain.
The direct action campaign against Elbit to date has forced Israel’s largest arms firm to lose their London Headquarters, Oldham arms factory, and over £280million in contracts with the Ministry of Defence. In a new front to the campaign, the siege will allow for hundreds to join in a mass action against Israel’s largest arms firm.
Previously, UAV Tactical Systems has been struck by collective resistance. In May 2021, at the height of Israeli aggression in Jerusalem and air attacks on Gaza, four activists occupied the Leicester factory for six days, and the local community mobilised in their hundreds to support . In 2022, the factory was targeted with direct action and community mobilisation on multiple occasions, while a first camp at the site was set up in October. From May 1st 2023, we’re coming back, and this time we won’t leave until Elbit’s gone.
UAV Tactical Systems, which is a joint venture between Elbit and French company Thales, has a number of export licenses  for the sale of arms to Israel, covering drones, military technology, imaging systems, and ground vehicles. The Leicester site is also used for Hermes drone projects – the same drones that terrorise the skies over Gaza. While these drones are, officially, used for surveillance, Israel has recently admitted  that their surveillance drones are fitted with munitions and explosives – a fact that Palestinians have stated for years.
All groups and individuals across Britain are invited to join the siege. Palestine Action hold regular talks and trainings across the country, with guests including rapper-activist Lowkey and arms trade expert Andrew Feinstein, to talk about how, and why, we must lay siege to Israel’s arms trade: palestineaction.org/siege/#talks