The protesters scaled the roof of the APPH facility, which is owned by Canadian firm Heroux-Devtek, sprayed red paint on the walls of the premises and waved red flares.
Palestine Action said in a statement that it members “stormed, scaled, and occupied” the premises of the military equipment manufacturer at 4.30 a.m. local time on Thursday.
“So far, activists have broken into the factory to dismantle drone and aircraft machinery, have destroyed property including floodlights, ventilators, windows and cameras, have sprayed blood-red paint across premises, and are currently occupying the roof to prevent operations at the site,” the organization said.
Palestine Action, which describes itself as a direct-action network of groups and individuals, said the Runcorn facility manufactures military technology and landing gear for Elbit’s long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which were used in the recent Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip.
At least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 11 days of the conflict that began on May 10. Israel’s airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.
The Gaza-based resistance movements responded by launching over 4,000 rockets into the occupied territories, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and even Haifa and Nazareth to the north.
Palestine Action said it would target other Elbit-owned locations in the United Kingdom.
Commenting on the protest, local Labour MP Mike Amesbury said, “People have got a right to protest but it must be done peacefully.”
“I would be very disappointed if any components used for military hardware involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are being manufactured in my constituency,” he noted.
Martin Brassard, president and chief executive officer of Heroux-Devtek, confirmed that all staff had been sent home and the company was working with the police to resolve the situation.
On Wednesday, Palestine Action targeted the headquarters of LaSalle Investment Management – a subsidiary of real estate giant Jones Long LaSalle, which is the landlords of the building where Israeli arms company Elbit runs its main office in central London.
The pro-Palestinian activists had earlier targeted sites linked to the company in the county of Kent and the Greater Manchester area, among other places.