Protester held on suspicion of aggravated trespass as demonstration near Lichfield enters second day
Police were today quizzing one of the protesters who forced the closure of a Midland factory accused of sending arms to Israel.
Members of the London Palestine Action (LPA) said he was detained after climbing down from their rooftop base to a position “in front of (the) boss’ office”.
Chief Inspector Jane Hewett from Staffordshire Police said: “We have explained to the protesters on numerous occasions throughout the negotiations that their actions in this protest will result in their arrest for aggravated trespass. We have also continuously provided the protesters with information on how they can safely and peacefully hand themselves to police officers.
“A man has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass following negotiation. He will be checked over by paramedics at the scene as a precaution before being taken into custody for questioning and the policing operation continues.”
UAV is a subsidiary of Israel drone manufacturer Elbit, which protesters claim makes machines used in military attacks on Gaza.
The factory was closed after the activists used ladders to reach the roof at 5am on Tuesday.
The group tweeted yesterday: “First activist who climbed down and locked on in front of #Elbit boss’ office has now been taken down and arrested.
“Rest of us staying put!”
Police negotiators had tried to talk the protesters down after they were lifted up to the height of the rooftop on a hydraulic platform.
Ch Insp Jane Hewett added: “Our role in this incident is to facilitate peaceful protest and minimise the impact on others, ensuring the safety of protestors, emergency teams and the wider community.
“We are maintaining regular contact with the company, who have taken the decision to remain closed.
“Lynn Lane remains closed to the general public. There is a diversion in place to allow business traffic to access nearby companies and so residents can access their homes.
“We’re working to keep disruption to their community to a minimum and would like to thank those affected for their patience and cooperation.
“We have a number of specialist officers in attendance, including police negotiators, who are working to resolve the incident safely.”
Roads were sealed off and delivery vans driving onto Birchbrook Industrial Estate, where UAV Engines is based, were checked.
Pro-Palestine activists also staged a demonstration on the ground in support of the factory occupation.
The LPA tweeted: “Local church (and pub!) opened their doors and showed 100 per cent support for protesters. A strong act of solidarity!”
No comment was available from UAV.