Activist on Trial for Shutting Down Arconic in Solidarity With Grenfell and Palestine

Oct 2, 2023

An activist from Palestine Action is on trial for charges of criminal damage after taking part in an occupation of Arconic’s Birmingham factory over two years ago[1]. The trial is expected to be 7 days long and started today, on Monday 2nd October 2023. 

The Arconic site in Birmingham was occupied by activists in June 2021 over the course of two days before being arrested by police[2]. In that time the actionists took direct action to shut the factory down, which included barricading factory entrances, dismantling the infrastructure and spraying blood-red paint over the building before finally occupying the roof to stop business from resuming. This led to the factory being rendered non-operational long after the action took place.

The action was taken in solidarity with victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, on the 4th anniversary of the preventable tragedy. Arconic manufactured and supplied the cladding and insulation system in the Grenfell Tower, which Fire Expert Witnesses have found “substantially to blame for the tragedy and that the panels were “the primary cause of upward vertical fire spread, downward vertical fire spread, and lateral fire spread.”[3] 72 people were killed in the fire, and today’s direct action follows the abject failure of the government to bring justice and accountability to the complicit parties – meaning Palestine Action have had to take this into their own hands.

Recently, the public enquiry found that Arconic not only knew that the cladding panels were unsafe for buildings higher than 12m[4], but that the executive of Arconic did not tell customers about the fact the cladding could burn as this may have affected their ability to sell the product[5]. Despite this, no members of Arconic have been held to account for their criminal negligence.

On top of this unsafe cladding, Arconic manufactures components and materials for Boeing Apache Helicopters and Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter Jets. Both of these are routinely deployed by the Israeli military in aerial assaults on Gaza, including in the May 2021 bombardments which killed 230 Palestinians including 65 children. One of Arconic’s major shareholders – Elliot Investment Management – was founded by Paul Singer, who has funnelled money into Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the ‘friends of the IDF’, and anti-BDS organisations.

During the time of the occupation protestors experienced extreme violence at the hands of the police, who had refused access for legal observers before proceeding to beat protestors, as can be seen[6] in these videos[7]. This repressive treatment by the carceral state continues as the CPS attempts to prosecute this actionist for taking steps to break the supply chains of war criminals whose products have killed innocents both on Palestinian and British soil.

The trial will take place at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Pipers Row, Wolverhampton WV1 3LQ from 10am each day. A Palestine Action spokesperson said in a call for action: ‘We need supporters to turn up in a show of support for the activist on trial. Not only will this help let the actionist know they’re not alone, but it’ll show both the British state and the criminal corporation Arconic that the public knows it’s them who are guilty, and that we demand justice for both Grenfell and Palestine.’


Images and videos from the action are free to use and reproduce: [INSERT LINK HERE]

Palestine Action is a network of groups and individuals established to take direct action against properties owned by Israel’s biggest arms firm Elbit Systems. The mission is to shut Elbit down and end all British complicity in the illegal colonisation of Palestine.