Activists have blocked the entrance to a Glasgow factory which produces parts for Israeli drones as they protest against the ongoing war in the Gaza strip, with police saying "a number of arrests" have been made.

Demonstrators blocked entrances to Thales' Govan site in Glasgow from early morning on Wednesday, May 15 as they call for a halt in the UK’s arms exports to Israel, an immediate ceasefire and an end to what they described as the genocide in Gaza.

The action comes on the day that Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, meaning 'catastrophe', the violent displacement of Palestinian people in the 1948 war which established the state of Israel.

More than 80% of the mostly Arab Palestinian population were expelled or fled from what would become Israel, with at least 15,000 killed.

Following the surrender of a former fishing village, Tantura, in 1948 between 40 and 200 villagers were massacred. The Nakba has been described by several historians as an example of ethnic cleansing.

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As part of the ongoing war in the Gaza strip, Israel is preparing a ground invasion of Rafah, where over a million people have been displaced.

In protest a group of local activists have shut down the Thales plant in Govan, which is involved in producing the Watchkeeper drone with Israeli defence company Elbit Systems.

UK foreign secretary David Cameron earlier this week ruled out halting arms sales to Israel.

Daniel, 47, a care worker, said: "Every day since October we have seen the Israeli Occupying Forces murder and torture people in the most grotesque and horrific ways.

The Herald: Police attempting to arrest pro-Palestine protestors at the Thales factory in Govan, GlasgowPolice attempting to arrest pro-Palestine protestors at the Thales factory in Govan, Glasgow (Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

"We've seen babies take their last breath before incubators ran out, children carrying their dead siblings in plastic bags, men dying for lack of basic life-sustaining medication, women giving birth with no healthcare or anaesthetic.

"The Israeli government knows there is no safe place in Gaza, even as they tell people to move again. My conscience demands that I do whatever it takes to stop the chain of killing that starts here in my home town."

Jamie, 32, who works at a Scottish university, said: ‘Scotland is a huge part of the UK’s bloody links to Israel. Our leaders in Holyrood and Westminster aren’t taking action; in fact they are actively contributing to these horrors. That's why we are doing the embargo ourselves, bringing Scottish solidarity to the people of Palestine who have suffered uncountable horrors and humiliation.

"All our eyes are on Rafah right now but this horror did not start with Rafah – it's been decades of bloody occupation. We can do our bit today to hit the profits of those who value money over human life and dignity.’

Justine, 39, an education worker and trade unionist from Glasgow, said: "Today, on Nakba Day, we are thinking of all those in Palestine since 1948 whose lives have been extinguished and maimed by the Occupation and the current genocide.

"We think of the many thousands who have died in prison and those who are still there today, without trial or due process."

A Thales spokesperson: "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."

The blockade was ended in the afternoon after intervention from Police Scotland.

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

"Officers are in attendance and a number of arrests have been made."

A protestor said: "Police broke up one of the pickets and made arrests. The police should be there to maintain public order but what they did was incite fear and panic.

"What we went through today, while upsetting and unnecessary, was nothing compared to what people in Gaza have been facing every day for over 7 months, and the unquantifiable suffering of Palestinians under occupation for 75 years. Stop the chain of killing: Free Palestine."

Police said that three men aged 18, 28 and 29, and a 21-year-old woman were arrested and charged during the demonstration.

Six officers were injured, including one who sustained a bite to the arm.

Two officers attended the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, one of whom was discharged after treatment while the other remains there for further assessment, police said.

Chief Inspector Derrick Johnston said: "When policing any protest our priorities are to ensure the safety of protestors, the public and police officers involved as well as preventing criminal behaviour or disorder and deescalating tensions.

"We are committed to protecting the rights of people who wish to protest, however when this is not done peacefully, officers are required to maintain public order and will exercise their powers of arrest if necessary".