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Protest at BAE Systems in Govan on Dawn of Global Strike in Solidarity with Palestine

Publication: Greater Govanhill

Protestors gathered opposite Elder Park to protest the factories ties to Israel, whilst the people of Palestine have called for the world to not go to work or school in support of the country.

This morning [11 December], local action groups and citizens gathered outside BAE Systems’ facility in Govan to protest the multinational’s links to Israel and demand that it ceases all weapons, defence and supplies trading with the state. 

The company produces components and equipment for the F-35 jet, the main warplane being used in the bombing of Gaza, as well as the Mk 38 Mod 2 machine gun which Israel also uses. 

Protestors led chants and waved Palestinian flags outside the staff entrance to the facility from 7am in what was a peaceful morning; chants and speeches were only cut through by the sound of cars honking their horns in support of the movement. 

“More and more people are supporting the Palestinian cause as the genocide wears on,” said one of the organisers. “We’ve only had one guy heckle us today!” 

The marchers also made their way half a mile down the road to the nearby Thales factory. Thales is an arms manufacturer, providing military drones, armoured vehicles, missile systems and more, including to Israel. 

In 2022, members of Palestine Action Scotland scaled its walls before causing damage to the roof, forcing staff to evacuate. Last month, three of the protesters were tried in court and found guilty of malicious damage (they were found not guilty of culpable and reckless conduct) and await sentencing early in the new year. 

This morning’s protest follows two months of weekly protests every Saturday in Glasgow’s city centre and other, more targeted protests like when Keir Starmer was in the city last week. 

Protestors were also outside BAE systems last Thursday in a coordinated shut down of the facility with other solidarity groups blocking BAE Systems’ facilities in Bournemouth, Lancashire and Brighton, as well as further afield in countries like France and The Netherlands. 

In response to this action, a BAE spokesperson said: “We’re horrified by the situation in Israel and Gaza and the devastating impact it’s having on civilians in the region and we hope it can be resolved as soon as possible.

“We respect everyone’s right to protest peacefully. We operate under the tightest regulation and comply fully with all applicable defence export controls, which are subject to ongoing assessment.”

Many shops and businesses across Glasgow have also not opened this morning, as they are participating in a global general strike. Called for by activists within Palestine over the weekend in response to the US vetoing (and the UK abstaining) in a UN vote for an immediate ceasefire, the global strike called for people to not go to work or school, as well as not to buy anything, and to only post content on social media related to Palestinian solidarity. 

Some of the local businesses in Govanhill that are participating in the strike including Cafe Buena Vida, Gulabi Photo, Glasgow Zine Library, which have all remained closed and will not be hosting pre-planned events today. 

“We will not be sending any orders today, and will not be doing the usual customer features” said Gulabi photo, “Viva Palestina”. 

Greater Govanhill has created a page which we update with all the latest Palestinian solidarity in the Southside and wider Glasgow, you can find all information here.