Nelson Mandela’s former ANC colleague speaks at Leicester Palestine Action protest

By Aiden Slattery

Protests have continued outside the Elbit Systems’ UAV Tactical Systems building in Leicester, occupying the road next to the factory.

Meridian Business Park saw its largest numbers in attendance on Saturday, May 13, with the arrival of prominent rapper and activist Lowkey, as well as Andrew Feinstein (a former ANC politician who worked alongside Nelson Mandela) and a convoy of protesters from Bradford.

Convoy of protestors from Bradford arrives outside the UAV Tactical Systems.

The protesters have been demonstrating over what they say are the company’s links with the Israeli military.

On its website, Elbit Systems’ corporate overview states: “We are an international high technology company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world, primarily in the defence and homeland security arenas.

“We develop and supply a broad portfolio of airborne, land and naval systems and products for defence, homeland security and commercial applications.”

With regards to the company’s Leicester operation and the protests, ITV News has previously reported a spokesperson for UAV Tactical Systems as saying: “To be absolutely clear, U-TacS does not supply the Israeli military or Israeli Ministry of Defence. Any claims to the contrary are completely false.”

A protester at the event who asked to remain anonymous said: “Elbit can deny that the systems produced at this factory are used against Palestinians, but I think that ignores the core function of their business, which is to profit from war and death.

“We simply do not consent to these weapons and drones being manufactured within our community.”

Speaking at the event, Mr Feinstein compared the apartheid struggle he himself fought against in South Africa to the struggle of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

Speaking in solidarity with the Palestine Action movement, he said: “We were taught early on that all our struggles, were one struggle.”

It is unclear how much longer the Palestine Action movement plans to occupy the road in front of the factory, with protesters claiming they will do so until they get the factory shut down.

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