Protestors who shut down a factory in Glasgow have accused Police Scotland of causing "fear and panic" with their tactics in breaking the picket, after several arrests were made.

On Wednesday morning a group of activists blockaded the entrance to the Thales plant in Govan, which manufactures components used in the Watchkeeper drone, as part of a partnership with Israeli defence company Elbit Systems.

On the day Palestinians commemorate the 'Nakba' or 'Catastrophe', the protestors called 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 demonstration was attended by Police Scotland, who confirmed "several arrests" had been made.

However, the force has been accused of a disproportionate response to a peaceful protest.

The Herald:

One told The Herald: "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 seven months, and the unquantifiable suffering of Palestinians under occupation for 75 years. Stop the chain of killing: Free Palestine."

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."

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".

Explaining the reason for the action, a protestor said: "We came here today to shut down the site and ensure no work is done today. This is because Thales is directly involved in producing the Watchkeeper drone, developed with Israeli arms company Elbit Systems and based on the Hermes 450 UAV, an armed drone that is used to kill Palestinian men, women, and children.

"Through this contract, Thales profits from Israel's genocidal campaign in Palestine. During a court case in 2014, Thales admitted that parts manufactured on this site were sold to the Israeli Defence Forces and 'battle tested' against Palestinians living under occupation and siege, as well as civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and British maritime borders."