During a demonstration marking the anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict, U.K. police arrested at least eight people Monday outside a factory in Shenstone that local news sources say is a subsidiary of Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems.
The activist group London Palestine Action organized the action in front of UAV Engines Ltd. in an effort to mark the anniversary of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, which took the lives of over 2,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children.
Members of the group, along with a coalition of other anti-war activists, launched the “Block the Factory Campaign” in an effort “to demand that the U.K. stops arming Israel,” according to their Tumblr page.
The Express and Star said at least 100 people were present with the aim to disrupt operations in the drone manufacturer, whose products activists claim are used against Palestinians.
The local news outlet also said before Monday’s protest the company secured a high court injunction, banning demonstrations from taking place within a 250-meter radius of the factory.
The arrests come just as a report released by the international watchdog Save the Children said that Gaza’s children are suffering from severe emotional trauma following Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.
“Unexpectedly high levels of continued severe emotional distress and trauma were reported to us by children and their parents in Gaza,” the report said.
According to Save the Children, Gaza’s youth living in the worst-hit areas suffer from nightmares, bedwetting, fear, isolation and withdrawal, and poor school attendance due to feeling unsafe.
The U.N. has reported that over 2,200 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, were killed during Israel’s assault on Gaza. Approximately 11,000 people were injured, including 1,000 children, who were left with permanent disabilities. An estimated 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, making 100,000 people homeless.
On July 7, 2014, Israel launched an aggressive airstrike campaign on Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge. Israeli leaders claimed the military operation was to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, but critics say the military operation used a disproportionate amount of force, leaving thousands of innocent casualties, amounting to war crimes.