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Pro-Palestine protesters gain access to Thales UK defence factory

The activists began their protests at the defence manufacturer in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Thales Gaza demonstration Glasgow September 23 2014
© STV

A group of around 15 activists from the Glasgow Palestine Action network have gained access to Thales UK, the weapons systems manufacturer in Govan, Glasgow.

Around four or five of the activists climbed onto the factory roof while others blocked the doors, during the early hours of the morning.

Protesters said they had staged the action in protest over Thales' close relationship with Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest drone producer.

Thales UK is working with Elbit Systems to make the next generation of Watchkeeper drones, a contract worth £1bn.

Police officers were at the factory on Tuesday afternoon discussing ways to control and disperse the protesters.

Fifi O’Hara, one of the roof occupiers, told STV News: “Drones are a key part of Israel’s military arsenal.

“By allowing this factory to export drone components and other arms to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.”

The issue has also been taken online, where a group under the Twitter name @GlasgowBDS (Boycotts, divestment and sanctions) said: “locals coming out to show disgust at the production of drone components on their doorstep. Shut down Thales! #stoparmingisrael”

A spokesman for Thales UK said: "An incident involving pro-Palestine protesters is currently taking place at the Thales Glasgow site.

"A small number of protesters have made their way inside the perimeter fence and onto the roof of the building."

A Police Scotland spokesman confirmed there has been four arrests in total, two men and two women.

The first three arrests were over alleged aggravation charges, with the final man being arrested over allegedly obstructing the police in the execution of their duty.

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