This morning activists from Break the Siege! blockaded BAE systems factory in Middleton, Manchester. Using motorbike chains and D-locks they obstructed the plant by sealing off several entrance points. A banner was also hung which read: ‘BAE profits from the siege on Gaza’. BAE calls itself 'The Systems Company Innovating for a Safer World' but there is no safety for those under siege in Gaza.
The war in Gaza is apparently over, yet people are dying everyday because of this most brutal of border controls. Israel and Egypt shut all borders on the 5th February. Egypt said it will close the Rafah border indefinitely as Gaza is an 'occupied territory'. The activists demand for an immediate opening of all borders with Gaza, beyond the occasional ‘border open day’. Sasha Jenkins who was on the protest said: “Arms manufacturers such as BAE go unchallenged and are funded by our government. We are all complicit in the situation in Gaza. The siege is a clear example of the terrifying logic of border controls when taken to the extreme.”
BAE systems are the largest arms-manufacturer in the world and are profiting directly by upholding the border regime in Gaza.
Nearly 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza and the population density is nearly 20,000 people per square mile, one of the highest in the world. Over one-half of its residents are children. Despite this, international attempts at providing aid have been denied by those implementing the siege. Movement of people, medical supplies and food has been fatally restricted.
People have a right to live without fear, racism and nationalism. Activists on the protest call for an end to border controls and act in solidarity with the international No Borders network. ‘Break the siege!’ also supports groups in resistance on both sides of the border, from Anarchists Against the Wall in Israel, and the "Sarvanim" Refuseniks of Israel, to Free Gaza, and the International Solidarity Movement. This direct action was a response to a call for a day of action by the No Borders network.
A spokesperson from the group said: “BAE must be held accountable for their role in the siege and we encourage other groups to take action against them. The war is not over, and we should not turn our backs on the people of Gaza.”