Large part of community who stood up for Elbit shutdown were Kashmiris, says Huda Ammori

Palestine Action activists splatter Elbit Systems factory in Oldham with red paint. [Photo: Twitter/ Palestine Action]

Weeks after activists from Palestine in Britain closed Israel’s Elbit Systems arms manufacturing facility in Oldham, Greater Manchester, England, Huda Ammori, the co-founder of Palestine Action, said that a large part of the community who stood up and shut down the arms factory were ‘Kashmiris’.

Huda Ammori is a British student, activist, and writer with Palestinian and Iraqi heritage. She is also engaged in pro-Palestine and anti-arms trade activism on a national and global level.

The news of the shutting down of Israel’s Elbit Systems was announced on January 10 by Palestine Action, a Palestinian solidarity and direct-action group that had been waging a campaign against the factory since August 2020.

Elbit Systems, an Israel-based international defense Electronics Company, announced earlier on January 10 that it was selling its Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham to UK-based TT electronics for a sum of approximately $12 million.

As per the Palestine Action statement, Elbit is infamous for manufacturing parts for Israeli drones and other pilotless aircraft. These aircraft are used by the Israeli military in attacks against Palestinians, including in Israeli airstrikes against Gaza.

Apart from Oldham, Elbit has nine other manufacturing sites still operating within the country.

The campaign against Elbit’s Oldham factory made headlines for the creative direct action measures taken to draw attention to Elbit’s participation in Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Over the last 18 months, activists occupied the facility, organized a human blockade by locking themselves onto the front gates to prevent workers from going inside the factory, and blocked off roads using vehicles leading up to the factory. They also regularly broke the glass windows of the factory and inflicted damage to other parts of the factory such as the air vents, roof, etc, the statement mentioned.

The direct action campaign, which was carried out even with the company taking several measures to improve security and arrangements made for a rapid police response, resulted in the arrest of 36 of the group’s activists.

The activists also sprayed paint on the factory’s premises and equipment with red paint.

According to the Palestine Action statement, the red paint was to symbolize the Palestinian blood and lives that have been shed over the decades with the help of Elbit’s weapons and technologies.

The actions taken by Palestine Action, often in collaboration with other solidarity and peace groups, such as XR North, Oldham Peace, and Justice group, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, resulted in massive financial losses to the company estimated to be more than 650,000 UK pounds.

They also regularly forced factory closures for weeks on end, disrupting production. As early as November 2021, the factory was already issuing mass redundancy notices and making preparations to leave the site.

In a statement following its campaign, Palestine Action said that “this news vindicates our long-term strategy. Direct action works – the brave individuals who occupied the factory over the past year can proudly say that drone technologies are no longer in production in Oldham.”

The 10 Elbit sites that still remain inside the UK employ about 500 people producing high-tech and specialist manufacturing activities for military and civilian uses.


Free Press Kashmir is now on Telegram. Click here to Join.
FPK Android App for 2G. Click here to Download.

Click to comment
To Top