Police in attendance at Leonardo building in Edinburgh after large-scale protest over arms to Israel

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Campaigners assembled outside the Leonardo building in Crewe Toll this morning

Edinburgh police remain outside the Leonardo building in Edinburgh after campaigners staged a mass protest over the sale of arms to Israel.

Members of several trade unions, including health workers, teachers and academics, joined the protests outside Leonardo UK in Edinburgh and GE Aviation in Cheltenham, stating that both organisations produce components for F-35 fighter jets.

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The action, under the banner Workers For A Free Palestine, follows similar protests across the country in the past few months. The protesters called on the UK Government to halt arms supplies to Israel before any ground offensive in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Organisers said Wednesday's demonstrations will form part of a month of disruptive direct action in support of Palestine.

Campaigners staged a demonstration outside the Leonardo building in Edinburgh this morning. Photo: Gaza Genocide Emergency CommitteeCampaigners staged a demonstration outside the Leonardo building in Edinburgh this morning. Photo: Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee
Campaigners staged a demonstration outside the Leonardo building in Edinburgh this morning. Photo: Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee | Gaza Genocide Emergency Committee

Zad, a housing support worker and union member taking part in the protest, said: "Israel is on the brink of invading the very area they told the people of Gaza it was safe for them to flee to. Such atrocities could not take place without the political and military support of governments like Britain.

"We're taking action to stop the flow of arms from Britain to Israel before it launches an illegal assault on Rafah which the United Nations has made clear will cause catastrophic levels of death and destruction, and plunge Gaza into famine."

Laura, a trade unionist helping to organise the protests, said: "Polling shows the majority of Brits support a ceasefire and one million people have marched for that cause.

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"Both the Conservatives and the Labour Party have refused to listen and now, in response to the strength of solidarity with Palestine among the British public, the Government is seeking to instead suppress this and crack down on our rights to protest under the guise of 'anti-extremism'".

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 5.40am on Wednesday, 20 March, 2024, police were made aware of a protest outside a site in the Crewe Road North area of Edinburgh. Officers are in attendance.”

A Leonardo spokesperson said: “This morning a group of protestors assembled outside the Edinburgh site. The safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors, and neighbours is our first priority. Police are in attendance. Leonardo UK complies fully with all the UK Government’s export control protocols, the legal obligations and the processes in place to operate those protocols.”

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