Palestine Action return to Leicester: Elbit’s drone factory is occupied and out of action

Mar 28, 2022


  • Palestine Action returns to Leicester, the site of Elbit System’s UAV Tactical Systems drone factory, vowing not to leave until Elbit is shut down for good.
  • A large group of activists broke into the site at 6:30 this morning, and have halted operations using a variety of tactics – raiding the site and using a van to blockade the entry gates. The activists include in their number Tayo Aluko, multi-award winning playwright, actor and singer.
  • The activists are preventing the manufacture of Elbit’s Hermes/Watchkeeper drones, which are sold to the Israeli military and abroad after being ‘battle-tested’ on Palestinians.
  • Following on from the closure of Elbit’s Oldham factory, Palestine Action’s targetting of the site marks another escalation in the campaign to #ShutElbitDown, renewing the occupations of drone factories to force further site closures of Israel’s largest private arms supplier.

Palestine Action have returned to once again take down Elbit Systems’ drone factory, UAV Tactical Systems, in Leicester. Activists have sought to prevent the site’s operations through a variety of manners. Two activists have gained entry to the site and shattered the factory. Meanwhile, several activists have locked and blockaded the factory gates, with access to the site prevented with a van used in the blockade. The action’s increased severity reflects the heightening of the group’s campaign, with promises of continued direct action until Elbit has ceased all operations in Britain.

Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko, a multi-award winning playwright, actor and singer, also participated in today’s action, lending their visibility and support to the cause by locking themselves atop a van blocking the entrance to the Leicester premises and is currently singing at the site.

Elbit is a cornerstone of the Israeli military, supplying Israel with 85% of its drone fleet. Elbit’s Hermes drone is described as the ‘backbone’ of the Israeli drone fleet, and it is confirmed to be produced at UAV Tactical Systems after the drones were sighted in the factory in our May occupation. These drones are in constant use for the surveillance and murder of Palestinian men, women and children – in occupying this factory, activists are intervening to stop the manufacture of such weapons for Israeli apartheid.

During the site’s previous occupation, hundreds turned up in opposition to the site’s operation, and in support of Palestine Action. Since then, the first of Elbit’s factories has been closed permanently by the group. The popular support the campaign has found in the community; who have begun twice-weekly protests outside the factory; alongside renewed and heightened direct action as seen today, are indicative of the growing resistance in Britain to Israel’s arms trade. Palestine Action have called for people to take up direct action and oppose the state-sanctioned export of terror to Palestine.

A Palestine Action spokesperson has stated the following:

“We’re back at Elbit’s factory in Leicester, where in May 2021 we occupied the roof and brought out huge numbers from the community. This time, we’re here to stay. In January, we permanently closed the first of Elbit’s sites in Britain – we’re not stopping at one. Elbit runs a killer trade of drones, chemical weapons and munitions. With support from communities like Leicester, Palestine Action will continue opposing it through direct action until Elbit are out of Britain for good.”

Next week, Palestine Action are hosting a talk in Leicester as part of a national series of events focussed on British complicity in Israeli apartheid – and the role of direct action in undermining this. The Leicester event, on Sunday 3rd April at the Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, will be joined by rapper Lowkey, who is subject to ongoing harassment by the Israel lobby, recently having an appearance at the NUS cancelled for his pro-Palestinian activism. The group are calling on all supporters in the area to attend.


If you would like any further information on Palestine action, please contact 

Attached pictures should be credited to [PHOTOGRAPHER]

Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking direct action against Elbit Systems’ UK locations at grassroots level, calling for them all to be shut down and for the British government to end its complicity in Israeli apartheid.

Activists found ‘not guilty in first ever Palestine Action trial:

Palestine Action shut down Elbit’s Oldham factory permanently:

Elbit Systems

Company profile on Elbit Systems, including quote by Israeli military general​:

Role of Elbit drone in killing of four children paying on Gaza beach in 2014:

More on the death and destruction inflicted by Elbit’s drones upon Gaza:

Elbit surveillance technology for Israel’s apartheid wall:

UK Ministry of Defence signs £102 million contract with Elbit Systems UK for “sensor-to-shoot” system: