Five Palestine Action activists attended Southwark Crown Court today, pleading ‘not guilty’ to charges of conspiracy to commit criminal damage without lawful excuse relating to an action we reported on last October.

Elbit painted red (again) – surprise direct action at arms company protest

The key part of the charge is the phrase “without lawful excuse”, because the activists believe that Elbit Systems, whose London HQ they targeted with red paint, is implicated in war crimes by supplying drones and other equipment to Israel which are used in the illegally occupied territories and in particular during the Operation Protective Edge assault on Gaza in 2014, so their campaign against the company is necessary, proportionate and legal.

The case will however not be heard for a whole year with a date set for 19th April 2022.

Elbit Systems has been the target for direct actions at various sites around the UK, but back in 2016, after their Shenstone factory was closed down by occupiers, the company decided not to appear in court at the last moment and the trial collapsed.

One of the defendants today said “Who should really be charged with criminal damage? The activists that spilled paint? Or the war criminals that spill blood and destroy entire communities? We look forward to seeing Elbit Systems in court and exposing the criminal damage that you have committed.”