UK Forced To Close After Protests
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UK Forced To Close After Protests

BARCLAYS branches across the country were forced to close after pro-Palestine activists staged sit-in demonstrations today.

The protests were in response to the bank's holdings in Israel's largest military company which provided drones used in recent deadly strikes on Gaza.
The flagship Barclays branch in Piccadilly Circus closed three hours early as 35 people from London's Palestine Action network held a sit-in occupation.


Pro-Palestine protests in Barclays

A member of the group said: "We shut down Barclays today to protest its investments in Elbit Systems and other companies that arm Israel.
"Barclays think it is acceptable to profit from Israel's massacres of Palestinians.
"It is time for the UK government to stop arming Israel and for UK companies to dissociate themselves from the arms trade with Israel."

Protests in the Piccadilly Circus Barclays branch

Elsewhere three branches were closed by protesters blocking entrances in Manchester.
Demonstrations were also held in Leeds, Sheffield, Brighton, Edinburgh, Bradford, Birmingham, Cambridge and more than 10 other towns and cities across the UK.

Supporters of the Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition picketed outside a bank in the city on Saturday. Campaigners handed in a letter to the manager of the Barclays branch in St Andrews Street and gave out leaflets demanding Barclays cut its financial ties to drones manufacturer, Elbit Systems.

Dr Richard Hopper, secretary of the Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: "The actions took place to mark the UN day of solidarity with Palestine, as pressure mounts on the UK government to suspend licenses for the exports of arms to Israel. "The UK Government last week announced a second review of licenses for arms exports to Israel after it discovered 12 instances in which weapons containing components produced in the UK "may" have been used in the summer 2014 attacks on Gaza."

The banner, exposed by the activists in Cambridge, lists the names of 1,500 people killed in Gaza. The banner was created by the Cambridge-based, Israeli born artist, Idit Nathan.

Drones were used extensively during Israel's recent assault on Gaza which killed over 2,000 Palestinians, including some 500 children. Around 1.8 million people have signed a petition calling on Barclays to divest its £1.92million holding in drone supplier Elbit Systems.

Barclays also holds 4.2 per cent of shares in BAE Systems which has provided F16 fighter jet components and other arms to Israel.
Gaza based activist Abdulrahman Abunahel said: "As Palestinians we suffer immeasurably from attacks by drones supplied by Elbit Systems ? and other weapons supplied to Israel?. Barclays and other companies linked to the arms trade with Israel are profiting directly from Israel’s massacres.
"We call on governments around the world to do the very least they can to stop Israel from carrying out more massacres of our people by imposing a military embargo on Israel. Such steps would be in line with growing public support for our struggle and for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign."