AROUND 7.30 a.m. this morning (December 9), protesters from Palestine Action broke into Teledyne Labtech Ltd in Presteigne. They broke windows and painted the outside of the building red before entering the company and destroying computers.
Several protesters then climbed onto the building’s roof in an effort to keep the plant closed, and they have vowed to keep doing so for as long as they can.
According to Palestine Action, the purpose of today’s stunt is to draw attention to Labtech’s role in providing Israel with military equipment.
Dyfed Powys Police said: “A large number of police are currently at an industrial site in Presteigne where there is an ongoing protest.
“Damage has been caused to a building, and there are people on the roof. Officers are working to bring them down safely. Two people have been arrested.”
This morning, Councillor Baynham, who represents Presteigne on Powys County Council and serves as vice chair, posted on Facebook. “Presteigne bypass is currently closed by police beside Labtech,” she announced at 7:50 a.m. You are unable to pass.
Hereford Street is busy with people going up and down it, so be careful there.
“The school children are fine. There is no need to worry. The police have Labtech on lockdown and under control.
“The school is being inundated with phone calls. There is no issue with either school and everyone is safe.”
Although it is not yet known if the school has been closed as a result of the incident, Broadaxe Lane, the road outside of John Beddoes School, Presteigne’s secondary school, which is close to the plant, has been closed.
Local county councillor Beverley Baynham posted on social media that all students are safe.
According to a statement on their website “we vow to continue this action for as long as possible to stop the manufacture or shipment of Israel’s drone technologies and military gear,” Palestine Action said.
“Teledyne Technologies, and its subsidiary E2V Technologies, hold weapons export licences for both Israel and India, where their surveillance and targeting systems are used in the repression and killing of Palestinian and Kashmiri civilians.
“Teledyne produces image sensors for military applications, as well as high-resolution surveillance technology for Israel’s illegal apartheid wall. Israel’s armed drone fleet, deployed in successive assaults on Gaza since the 51-day attack in 2014, are also outfitted with Teledyne targeting systems, which enables Israel to precision target children and schools.
“Teledyne Technologies’ products are therefore directly attributable to the surveillance and murder of thousands of Palestinians.
“For over two years, Palestine Action’s campaign has primarily focussed on Elbit Systems – Israel’s largest arms firm – and has seen two of their sites forced to close permanently.”
It added: “Britain is now a hostile environment for all companies involved in the brutalisation and murder of Palestinians. Elbit Systems is one such company, but Teledyne Technologies is another major player.
“They supply surveillance equipment for Israel’s apartheid wall, and targeting systems for their fleet of combat drones. Tackling the imperialist hydra means cutting off all its heads, so we will shut down each and every company complicit in the ongoing colonisation of Palestine.”
After disrupting the techUK Defence Winter Dinner in London on Thursday night, members of Palestine Action took action in Presteigne. Five demonstrators stormed the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone and took control of the microphone, denouncing attendees, including Elbit Systems, for their support of Israel.
Members of the UK government, chiefs of the civil service and armed forces, and officials from the majority of the main arms manufacturers in the nation all attended the event.