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Arconic Factory Shut Down By Protestors in Birmingham (exclusive)

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Justice For Palestine

Live from the scene where protestors have shut down the Arconic factory in Birmingham.

The first thing I noticed was the giant Palestine flag flying in the middle of a roundabout.

What caught my attention next was a group of children no older then 8-9 under a tree.

The young activists were chanting “free Palestine” as cars went past beeping horns in support and also in awe.

It is a extremely hot day and this shelter of shade was appreciated.

They chanted passionately ensuring their little voices were heard.

From Kitts Green road in Birmingham to the Gaza strip.

Police action

There was a large police presence and the Kitts Green road was cordoned off by police as two people were on top of the roof of the factory.

This scene is what wasn’t shared on social media.

The peaceful protest involving people of the local community.

The only images shared were that of protestors smashing windows.

This made me wonder why there was no media looking at the protest down the road from Arconic

What happened

The protest started by throwing fake blood over the building and using fire extinguishers to symbolise putting out the flames of war, for the companies association to weapons that Israel uses in Gaza.

One protestor was seen on the floor pretending to be dead as another symbolic reference to the victims in both Palestine and Grenfell.

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Climbing for  Justice

At some point this afternoon the activists gained access to the roof of the building and began a rooftop protest.

This resulted in police shutting down the street and redirecting traffic.

But in turn this got the local residents out to start a protest further down the road.

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The Message

I wasn’t there for long when I approached a group of men being questioned by police officers.

I wanted to ensure they were being treated respectfully.

They explained the reasons for the protest.

They also mentioned some people had been racist towards them when driving past.

But they went on to state the vast majority of the community supported the protestors.

Interview with Protestor

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Palestine Action Press Statement

Palestine Action have stormed and began occupation of the Birmingham site of Arconic.

This is the firm responsible for production of the unsafe, highly flammable cladding which enabled the spread of fire through Grenfell Tower.

The Grenfell Connection

Arconic also produce a range of materials, including sheet metal, for the manufacture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin military aircraft.

These were used by the Israeli military in air assaults on Gaza

This claim is supported by revelations in the Grenfell inquiry via expert evidence,

Dr Barbara Lane concluded Arconic’s product Reynobond 55PE “contributed to the most rapid of the observed external fire spread” and said the cladding system, including the insulation, was “substantially to blame for the tragedy”. Prof Luke Bisby said the panels were “the primary cause of upward vertical fire spread, downward vertical fire spread, and lateral fire spread.”

Why Now?

This action is being undertaken on the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

At least 72 people died when illegal cladding helped spread a fire through a London tower block, these are the faces of the victims.

The group are taking direct action to ensure the facilitators and profiteers of the atrocity are held accountable and brought to justice.

The occupation continues the Palestine Action escalation of direct action.

The activists continue to halt the operations of firms manufacturing weapons used to repress Palestinians.

Palestine Action have today stormed and begun occupation of the Arconic factory in Birmingham.

The spokesperson for the groups said today’s action has so far involved barricading factory entrances, smashing windows and spraying blood-red paint over the building.

Meanwhile activists are now occupying the factory roof to prevent business resuming.

Actions Speak Louder

Activists are taking direct action 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.”(1)

In the tragedy atleast 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.

The Evidence

Recently, the public enquiry found that Arconic knew that the cladding panels were unsafe for buildings higher than 12m.

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.

Despite this, no members of Arconic have been held to account for their criminal negligence.

Companies such as Arconic have been able to avoid accountability for their crimes.

they are operating within a global supply chain with diffuse responsibility.

Palestine Action say they intend to break this “chain holding” companies to account for the deaths that they enable in the pursuit of profit.

They go on to say in the statement,

It is the duty of activists to demand accountability in the face of this government inaction and to deliver justice ourselves.

Cladding That Kills

On top of this unsafe cladding, Arconic manufacture 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.

The most recent in 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.

They also funded the ‘friends of the IDF’, and anti-BDS organisations.

War Machine

Arconic’s website proudly lists manufacture for parts in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II fighter jet and a number of other links to the defence industry.

Its director Elmer Doty was formerly executive vice president of BAE Systems.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) notes that Lockheed Martin is the largest arms manufacturer in the world. Israel is the first country to use the F-35 in combat.

In 2018, US-based Arconic reported revenue of $3.6bn.

Elliott Management Corp, “the activist hedge fund” and largest shareholder behind Arconic, is currently trying to buy out the company.

Weapons of War

British-made military components and hardware were used by Israeli forces carrying out airstrikes on Gaza according to research seen by The Independent.

May Air Strikes

The Israel Defense Forces says it has launched a major offensive against the Hamas terror group’s rocket-launching capabilities in the northern Gaza Strip.

This was reported by the Times of Israel.

Escalations Reports hundreds of projectiles were fired from the area at Israeli cities across the border earlier in the day.

IDF spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says some 80 fighter jets, including the advanced F-35 aircraft, are taking part in the operation, which began this afternoon.

According to Zilberman, the military aims to destroy dozens of rocket launch tubes that the ‘terror group” has buried around the northern Gaza Strip.

The spokesman says this would “totally neutralize” the rocket launching capabilities of three Hamas brigades in northern Gaza.

Previous Protests

The group has participated in activism before which is documented in their press release on the 13th April.

  • For the first time, Palestine Action target Elbit’s Bristol HQ 
  • Activists have simultaneously seized Elbit’s Ferranti factory in Oldham breaking into the building to fully occupy outside, inside and on top
  • Elbit’s buildings are smeared in blood-red and the entrances are sealed with ‘war crime scene’ barrier tape
  • Activists vow to blockade the sites indefinitely to disrupt Israel’s lethal kill chain and bring its business-of-killing to a halt

This morning, activists from Palestine Action took over the roof and blockaded Elbit’s arms factory in Oldham.

Brazenly, Bristol’s HQ was targeted at exactly the same time, grinding its lethal arms production to a halt in both the north and the southwest of the country.

This is the first time Elbit’s Bristol headquarters have been targeted  a testament to the wide scale growth of the Palestine Action network.

They have sprayed buildings in blood-red paint, broken windows, chained themselves to the premises and stuck “war crime scene” barrier tape across the front doors.

Banners hang from Oldham’s factory roof saying ‘Elbit’s arms: Tested on Palestine, Used in Kashmir’.

This is also the first time activists have taken over the inside of Elbit, occupying Oldham’s site completely from top to bottom.

Activists have pledged to blockade both sites for as long as possible to disrupt Israel’s ability to keep making and profiting from murderous weaponry.

The Grenfell Four Year Anniversary

Monday is the fourth anniversary of the fire that ripped through the North Kensington tower block on June 14, 2017, killing 72 people.

The discovery that combustible ACM cladding had helped the flames spread led to a nationwide debate about fire safety in tall buildings.

But four years on, many leaseholders face huge bills to fix cladding issues with their homes and hundreds of buildings are still waiting for safety works to start.

The Legacy

Earlier this year Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the Government would provide £3.5 billion, to underwrite the costs of stripping flammable material from blocks over 18 metres tall.

However, the latest figures from the Building Safety Fund show the distribution of money is moving slowly with just £172.1 million signed off by April this year.
Campaigners have accused the Government of a “lack of urgency” that exposes leaseholders and tenants to risk for far longer than necessary.
This urgency fuelled by a fire at the New Providence Wharf development in east London last month.

Residents there had been waiting for more than two years to see flammable panels removed when the fire broke out.

Justice for Grenfell

Spokeswoman Yvette Williams, from Justice 4 Grenfell, said:
“It is absolutely appalling, I stood there on the night of the Grenfell fire and saw what happened and how awful it was.
“It feels like there is no urgency at all”.
The Government still appears to be putting the property developers above people.

“There is still a lack of regulation and accountability in the building industry and thousands of people are sat in homes covered in flammable cladding, unable to move.
It’s a disgrace.”

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