Since the morning of Saturday 17 January, nine anti-arms trade campaigners have been arrested, some at the EDO arms factory near Brighton. It appears some of the nine campaigners gained access to the premises during the night, and took action to decommission EDO’s weapons making capability. The action was an attempt to stop the war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli state and military against Palestinian people, by denying them supplies of military equipment that EDO help make.
According to the local police and media, the decommissioning work was extensive, and will take some time to rectify. Some are asking if this may be the final blow that helps close the EDO arms factory once and for all?
Of the 9 people arrested, 2 are from Brighton, and 7 from Bristol. A woman has been released on police bail, another woman is in hospital with a hand injury and remains under arrest. The 7 men arrested are believed to face charges of burglary and criminal damage, 2 face an additional charge of breach of bail, and 1 of damage to a police cell. It is believed 3 of the arrested where not involved in the decommissioning and were not arrested at the EDO factory. One or more homes have been raided in Bristol as a result of the arrests. See here.
Those arrested will need financial and physical support. A solidarity protest has already been called for on Monday 19 January when they are expected in court – 10am onwards outside Brighton magistrates court, Edward Street, Brighton.
Whilst solidarity campaigns and fundraising in Brighton and Bristol are yet to be formally announced, they will be soon. In the meantime SmashEDO have stated here that they will accept donations for those arrested. You can donate here and please email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating what your donation is for.
Whilst supporters of the campaigners have yet to confirm their identities, one local paper, the Rye and Battle Observer, has released info that is claimed to come from the police. We stress this is yet to be confirmed as correct.
The Brighton based SmashEDO campaign, which has been trying to close the factory for over 4 years, was informed of the action on Saturday morning. They have issued 2 press releases since the action, both here.