Palestine Action activists found NOT GUILTY of breaching a section 14 notice 

Feb 16, 2024

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District Judge Grace Leong found seven activists not guilty of breaching a section 14 notice during Palestine Action’s ‘siege’ on Leicester’s Elbit weapons factory, UAV Tactical Systems. The case was thrown out after half time submissions on the basis there was no legal certainty of the section 14 conditions, no evidence the defendants knew or ought to have known about the notice and they weren’t arrested during a public assembly.

The seven activists were amongst 26 people who were rounded up and arrested on the second day of Palestine Action’s declared siege on the factory. The activists were camping in the woods adjacent to the factory when they were awoken by police and arrested immediately. By the third day of the mass action, 33 were arrested in total. All of those arrested were bailed to not return to the factory [1].

The section 14 notice included conditions preventing people from erecting any structure, including tents. This lead to many people sleeping without shelter in sleeping bags and blankets, many of which were supplied by the local community. Despite the police attempt to diminish numbers at the siege, hundreds continued to support the mass action [2]. 

UAV Tactical Systems is owned by Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems. The factory regularly sends drones and drone technologies to Israel [3], where Elbit’s drone products brutally enforce the military occupation of Palestine. UAV Tactical Systems’ flagship drone, the Watchkeeper, has been used by the British military in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the English Channel – but is itself modelled on the notorious and deadly Hermes drone, after the latter was ‘battle-tested’ on Palestinians [4]. 

Elbit, Israel’s largest weapons company, supplies 85% of Israel’s drones, and 85% of its land based military equipment [5]. Its products, including the Hermes, have been linked to documented attrocities by the Israeli state [67].

A Palestine Action spokesperson said: 

“This victory demonstrates what we knew all along, the police acted to protect the Israeli weapons trade and tried whatever they could to deter us. They failed and the campaign to shut Elbit down continues to go from strength to strength. Whilst a genocide in Gaza is underway, it’s more important than ever to take action against Elbit’s lethal operations on our doorstep.” 


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Palestine Action is a direct-action network of groups and individuals formed with the mandate of taking action against the sites of Elbit Systems and other companies complicit in Israeli apartheid, calling for all such sites to be shut down.