Palestine protests erupt across Britain: Police clash with activists in day of CHAOS on anniversary of Israeli independence

Palestine protests erupt across Britain: Police clash with activists in day of CHAOS on anniversary of Israeli independence

Watch as police clash with pro-Palestine protesters outside the Thales factory in Glasgow

James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 15/05/2024

- 09:56

Updated: 16/05/2024

- 09:19

Activists targeted Israel-linked companies across the UK

Pro-Palestine activists have demonstrated across the country today in a series of protests against firms linked to Israel on the 76th anniversary of the country's independence day.

In Glasgow, demonstrators blocked entrances to buildings owned by arms manufacturer Thales this morning in protest against their links to Israel owing to the company's cooperation with Israeli firm Elbit Systems to develop Watchkeeper drones for the UK's Ministry of Defence.

GB News has seen videos of a large-scale police response to protests outside the Thales facility - in the footage, officers could be seen swarming to a crowd of activists outside the factory's front gates and tussling with protesters who had entered what appears to be a security checkpoint.

Protesters were seen wearing traditional Palestinian scarves called Keffiyehs, and could be heard chanting "free, free, Palestine" as police moved in.

Pro-Palestine protesters in Brighton and Shipley

Images from the protests in Brighton (bottom right) and Shipley today


A Police Scotland spokesperson told GB News: "Around 5.05am on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, police were called to a report of a demonstration within the grounds of a business premises on Linthouse Road, Govan, Glasgow. Officers remain at the scene."

Police later confirmed that "a number of arrests" had been made.

Elsewhere in the city, students at Glasgow University protested under banners calling for Israel to "end the siege of Gaza".

Barclays Brighton with paintActivists daubed the bank's signage on Brighton's North StreetX

While in Brighton, protesters sprayed "blood red" paint on the front of a Barclays branch in over what they say are the bank's links to "Israel's apartheid and genocide".

In footage posted online by activist group Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign (Brighton PSC), the branch's historic facade and signage were smeared with red paint in dramatic images resembling a range of similar pro-Palestine protests in the past.

In Shipley, West Yorkshire, protesters took to the roof of a Teledyne facility, calling for the American industrial firm to "stop killing Palestine".

The Shipley activists were then seen vandalising and dismantling parts of the roof, with a trio of demonstrators in red jump suits throwing parts of the building into a car park below.

The protests come as Palestinians and allies commemorate May 15's "Nakba Day", the date the Israeli Declaration of Independence was made.


\u200bPolice and protesters clash

Police and protesters clashed outside the entrance to a Thales facility in Glasgow


Pro-Palestine protesters in London

Pro-Palestine protesters have taken to the streets for months in protest against Israel's military response to the October 7 Hamas attacks


The date has long marked protests against the foundation of the state of Israel; as early as 1949, just one year after its establishment, demonstrators took to the streets in the West Bank, while in the decades since, May 15 has been known as "Palestine Day" across much of the Arab world.

The Brighton PSC had called for "hands off Rafah" as Israel's counter-offensive in the Gazan city continues, and their campaigning against a concert due to its sponsors' alleged links to the country - pushing more than 100 artists to withdraw from performing.

And this evening, trade unionists led by the University and College Union (UCU)'s London branch are set to protest at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)'s "liberated zone" in "solidarity with the student movement".

Protesters at Teledyne

Protesters were seen dismantling parts of the Teledyne facility's roof

Palestine Action

Barclays has seen demonstrations from pro-Palestine activists before. Just days ago, the bank's annual shareholder meeting in Glasgow was disrupted by demonstrators protesting against its alleged indirect links to violence in Gaza.

"We are totally prepared to answer questions on this topic but there is no point engaging in megaphone diplomacy," Barclays Chairman Nigel Higgins told protesters, who were led out of the gathering.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign claims Barclays is "bankrolling Israel's genocidal assault on Palestinians" via the provision of investment and financial services to Israeli and Israel-linked arms firms.

The group has called on the public to boycott all the bank's services until it "ends its grave complicity in Israel's attacks on Palestinians".

Protesters demonstrated against a "genocide" outside Thales buildings in Glasgow


A Thales spokesperson told GB News: "Thales is extremely proud of its role in helping to protect the UK and keep our armed forces safe.

"Regarding exports, Thales adheres to the UK Government’s industry control system for overseas sales, one of the most rigorous and transparent of its kind in the world.

"While those outside our site in Glasgow have the right to protest peacefully, we will work with authorities to prosecute anyone who threatens our employees, our property or our important work for the UK armed forces."

Protesters on Teledyne roof

Activists unfurled banners condemning the firm


A Barclays spokesperson said: "First and most importantly, we recognise the profound human suffering caused by this conflict. This is an exceptionally complex and long-running conflict, and we urge governments and the international community to work together to find a lasting, peaceful solution.

"We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do.

"We trade in shares of listed companies in response to client instruction or demand and that may result in us holding shares.

"We are not making investments for Barclays and Barclays is not a 'shareholder' or 'investor' in that sense in relation to these companies."

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