Campaigners gagged by draconian injunction head to the High Court

22 July 2015 - 12:15am
Press release

Campaigners go to the High Court today in a bid to overturn an injunction forbidding protest at an arms factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire. 

UAV Engines Ltd is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems - one of Israel's largest arms companies and a producer of drones and other military technology used in Israeli military assaults on Gaza. Drone engines produced at the Shenstone factory are exported to Israel.

Protests and vigils have been held at the site since 2009. The injunction - granted in a hearing on 30 June - forbids any protestor from coming within 250 metres UAV Engines Ltd. The hearing will be the first opportunity for the court to hear from the campaigners, who did not know about the injunction when it was granted. 

The injunction was granted days before the 'Block the Factory' national protest which took place outside the factory on 6 July.  Hundreds of Palestine solidarity campaigners and anti-drone protesters took part in the event calling for an end to arms sales to Israel. 

Nineteen people were arrested as the police sought to uphold the injunction. None of those arrested have been charged with any offence and all remain on police bail.

Ryvka Barnard of War on Want said: “Gagging protesters’ right to demonstrate is anti-democratic. It’s especially worrying to see an injunction granted that silences public dissent over the production of weapons used for grave human rights violations abroad.”

Chris Cole of Drone Campaign Network said: “There are serious legal and moral issues associated with the development and growing use of drone technology. It is simply wrong that the court has imposed such a draconian order banning protests at one of the main drone manufacturing locations in the UK”.

Maya Evans of London Palestine Action and one of those specifically named in the injunction said: “Today I am in Birmingham to challenge a draconian injunction which is silencing non-violent protest. If this injunction continues to stand, it will shut down the potential for people to voice their freedom of speech, which will certainly fuel extreme feelings and actions.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information contact Chris Cole 07960 811437 and Maya Evans 07973 484 202

The court hearing will take place at 10.30 am on Wednesday 22 July at Birmingham High Court 33 Bull Street Birmingham B4 6DS

 

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