Protestors with hammers force evacuation of Glasgow factory 'making weapons for Israel'

Police criticised for response against group boasting of 'severe damage'


Extremist pro-Palestinian protestors this morning forced the evacuation of a factory in Glasgow they claim is producing weapons for the Israeli military.

Some wearing balaclavas and carrying hammers, the activists scaled the roof of the Thales factory.

The activists’ group, Palestine Action (PA), claimed the protest had caused “severe damage” – prompting critics to ask why the police had not taken stronger action.

Images posted by PA showed police officers climbing up a ladder by the side of the building as a protestor raised his finger in a victory sign, with a Palestinian flag draped below.

Their tweet boasted: “Police scale up the Glasgow factory in an attempt to stop ‘crime'. But there's no need; we're already on the job – we're smashing up Thales' death factory.”

The group claimed that their action had succeed in “forcing workers to evacuate, preventing site operations and striking at Thales through damaging site facilities”.

A press release by Palestine Action said: “A team of activists scaled the roof at dawn, and began causing severe damage to site facilities.”

Police Scotland responded by saying the force is a “rights-based organisation”, with a duty to “protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest”. 

Pro-Israel campaigners criticised the police for failing to take further action, saying “smashing up a factory” is “hardly a peaceful protest”.

Earlier this year the JC exposed Palestine Action’s planned campaign of destruction against Israeli-linked firms.

Palestine Action Scotland used Twitter to announce their rooftop protest at Thales, saying it is a "killer weapons factory, occupying a vital link in Israel’s military supply chain". 

The group claimed: ”Thales is one of the world’s largest arms companies, producing military drones, armoured vehicles, missile systems and more.

“Amongst the assorted warfare-related hardware made by Thales, the Watchkeeper drone project stands out.

“The project seeks to further the policing and surveillance of captive populations belonging to the nations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.”

Among those drawn to the scene after protestors were seen on the site was Layla Khan, from Glasgow.

She said: “I think it’s really great that they are here and have shown the initiative to stop Thales doing what they do in Glasgow.

“We don’t agree with what they’re doing. It’s violence and we don’t want it here in the city. We want it gone.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ”Police Scotland is a rights-based organisation that puts our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights at the heart of everything we do.

“We have a duty under the European Convention on Human Rights to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter protest balanced against the rights of the wider community.” 

UK Lawyers For Israel chief executive Jonathan Turner said: “Smashing up a factory causing severe damage is hardly a peaceful protest. The reported comment of Police Scotland is out of place.

“There are plenty of ways of freely expressing criticism of the company’s activities without committing criminal offences.

“As Lord Hoffmann - one of the most liberal senior judges in recent time - observed in the leading case, R v Jones, claims of justification must be considered it the context of a functioning democratic state in which legal disputes are peacefully submitted to the courts.

“We hope that the the offenders will be prosecuted and that the Courts will pass sentences that deter any further offences of this nature."

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