This is an emerging story and this article is being updated accordingly.
Six activists have been released from custody today (May 19) after being granted bail at Bristol Crown Court.
They were part of a group of nine that were arrested following an action targeting the Bristol offices of an Israeli arms company on Sunday.
Activists, including two Israelis, from direct action group Palestine Action, broke into the offices of Elbit UK, a subsidiary of Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems, and caused extensive damage.
Police arrested the nine at the scene and later charged eight with burglary and criminal damage and one with aggravated burglary. They appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning for bail hearings. Three had their bail denied and are still in custody.
The six bailed today were Ayden Brouwers, 24, of Old Trafford, Trafford; Archie Sadler, 24, of no fixed address; Eliza Sarson-Diment, 22, of no fixed address; Finton Owens, 24, of Hackney in London; Ciaran Gallagher, 24, of Old Trafford, Trafford; Jarvey Georgson, 24, of Royal Wootton Bassett.
A solidarity demo was held outside the Crown Court from 2pm.
Video footage taken by the activists whilst inside the Elbit office shows smashed computers and office furniture and red paint sprayed across the walls both inside and outside the building.
On Tuesday, a small picket organised by Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign was held outside the courthouse in support of the activists inside.
Palestine Action have protested at Elbit’s Bristol office, located in Aztec West, before with rooftop occupations. Sunday’s destructive action marks a step up in the pressure the group puts of Elbit UK to end its operations in the country. In January, an Elbit factory in Oldham was sold after sustained pressure from activists.
Sunday’s action came on the 74th anniversary of the Nakba, when three quarters of a million Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes at the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.
Palestine Action’s stated aim is to end British complicity in Israeli war crimes. They say that Britain continues to support the Israeli regime today via the export of weapons made by Elbit Systems on British soil.
In a press release on Sunday the group said: ‘We aim to permanently disrupt the Britsh-Israeli weapons trade by halting Elbit’s production of weapons on British shores.
‘Our mission to #ShutElbitDown will continue to target every Elbit location and complicit party, across Britain.
‘As the ongoing Nakba continues, so do our efforts to dismantle Britain’s role in supporting Israeli apartheid.’
A spokesperson for XR Peace, who campaign for a free Palestine, said: ‘Elbit are a major Israeli arms company manufacturing drones in this country which are used to brutally suppress the Palestinians and impose an apartheid.
‘The military are a major contributor to climate change and war deepens the already shocking injustice in our world.
‘It’s shocking to find Elbit have their major technical headquarters in our city – this is not an industry any of us can be proud of.’
Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest privately-owned arms manufacturer. They have nine factories and offices throughout the UK.
Feature image: Guy Smallman.