Police vow to find ‘peaceful resolution’ to rooftop protest at factory

Pro-Palestine demonstrators determined to stay on top of UAV Engines in Shenstone, Staffordshire

Protesters on the roof at UAV Engines in Shenstone.

Police have vowed to reach a “peaceful resoution” as they attempt to coax down pro-Palestine protesters from the roof of a Midland factory.

Nine activists from the London Palestine Action group marched into UAV Engines in Shenstone, Staffordshire, shortly after 5am today before scaling the eight-metre roof.

The company is a subsidiary of Israel drone manufacturer Elbit, which protesters claim makes machines used in military attacks on Gaza.

A banner displaying the message ‘UK: Stop Arming Israel’ was unfurled across the top of the building while demonstrators, kitted out with tents and sleeping bags, shouted ‘Free Palestine’ and other slogans.

The banner was said to be tied to the throat of an activist and that any attempt to pull it down would “break someone’s neck”.

Specially-trained negotiators from Staffordshire Police, lifted high up on a hydraulic platform, made efforts to talk the protesters down, but they refused to budge.

Roads were sealed off and delivery vans driving into Birchbrook Industrial Estate, where UAV Engines is based, were stopped and checked as around 30 officers from Staffordshire Police were drafted in to monitor the occupation.

Chief Inspector Jane Hewett from Staffordshire Police said  “Officers are continuing to police a business premises on Lynn Lane in Shenstone, Lichfield.

“We have a number of officers in the area who are maintaining order and keeping the peace as well as ensuring the safety of protestors, emergency teams and the wider public.

“We are providing fair and balanced policing at the site and have a number of specialists in attendance including police negotiators who are working to resolve the incident safely.

“This appears to be an organised and planned protest and we are investigating the circumstances of how the protestors came to be on the roof.

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/police-vow-peaceful-end-shenstone-7568652

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