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Gaza protesters ‘create own arms embargo’ with blockade outside Thales factory

There were scuffles between the pro-Palestinian campaigners and police at the scene in Govan, Glasgow, on Wednesday.

Thales protest

Pro-Palestinian protesters have blockaded a defence and security company in an effort to disrupt the supply of arms to Israel as they demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

There were scuffles between the campaigners and police outside the Thales factory on Linthouse Road, Govan, Glasgow, where the protest began early on Wednesday morning.

Thales has had a presence in Scotland for more than 100 years, with two main sites in Glasgow and Rosyth, Fife.

Demonstrators blocked the entrances to the Glasgow site in response to a call from Palestinian civil society for workers to disrupt the flow of arms to Israel.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Officers clear a path for a police vehicle during a protest outside the Thales factory in Govan, Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

It comes as Palestinians mark Nakba Day, which remembers May 15, 1948 when some 750,000 of them were displaced from their homes as Israel was created.

Protesters claim Thales is directly involved in producing the Watchkeeper drone and that parts manufactured on the Glasgow site have been sold to the Israeli army.

Demonstrators said they are taking action to create their own arms embargo.

One of those protesting outside the Glasgow factory was Jamie, 32, who works at a Scottish university. He said: “Scotland is a huge part of the UK’s bloody links to Israel.

“Our leaders in Holyrood and Westminster aren’t taking action, in fact they are actively contributing to these horrors.

“That’s why we are doing the embargo ourselves, bringing Scottish solidarity to the people of Palestine who have suffered uncountable horrors and humiliation.”

Another protester, Daniel, 47, a care worker, said: “The Israeli government knows there is no safe place in Gaza, even as they tell people to move again. My conscience demands that I do whatever it takes to stop the chain of killing that starts here in my home town.”

Israel-Hamas conflict
There were scuffles between the campaigners and police outside the factory (Andrew Milligan/PA)

A Thales spokesperson: “Thales is extremely proud of its role in helping to protect the UK and keep our armed forces safe.

“Regarding exports, Thales adheres to the UK Government’s industry control system for overseas sales, one of the most rigorous and transparent of its kind in the world.

“While those outside our site in Glasgow have the right to protest peacefully, we will work with authorities to prosecute anyone who threatens our employees, our property or our important work for the UK armed forces.”

Police Scotland, the UK and Scottish governments have been contacted for comment.

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