Palestine Action US posted on X alleging it “completely halted” the business of Elbit Systems in Boston after a protest on Monday.
Elbit Systems, an Israel-based international defense electronics company, is the largest weapons supplier to Israel.
The company’s American subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, has operational facilities in Texas, New Hampshire, Alabama, Virginia and Florida, according to the company’s website.
Video footage posted on social media appears to show activists from the group Palestine Action protesting outside the headquarters of Elbit Systems in Boston on Monday.
Around 200 protestors could be heard chanting “Elbit Systems has got to go”. Some protestors could also be heard telling officers “You’re defending genocide of children”, and calling them “f***ing pigs” as police shouted “get back”.
The protestors then began chanting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” as officers appeared to restrain a protestor and lead them away.
Protestors could also be heard shouting “Free, free Palestine”.
Elbit America denied claims that it or its Cambridge plant had been shut down and said operations were still under way.
A statement from Elbit America’s leadership said: “Our extraordinary office in Cambridge works with bio-tech and local academic communities and has played a vital role in combatting COVID-19 in the US by designing and manufacturing COVID testing instruments for hospitals and frontline medical workers. In this time of anguish and sorrow, we stand with the people of Israel as they defend their country and safeguard their citizens.”
Nine arrests were made, Cambridge police said, after protestors broke through barricades protecting the building and blocked the entrance.
Police said the protest was initially peaceful, but erupted into chaos when protestors began vandalising the building, which has been the site of numerous protests in recent weeks.
Cambridge PD said protestors threw “smoke pellets”, eggs and other projectiles at the building and at police officers, leading to police attempting to place numerous people under arrest for defacing the building.
At this point, police said, some of the protestors became hostile and assaulted police officers. One officer was knocked to the ground, while another was hit in the chest with a “smoke pellet,” Cambridge PD said.
Multiple protestors were pepper sprayed by Cambridge PD officers, the force confirmed.
A busy roadway nearby was shut by police “to ensure the safety of the protestors and the public in the area,” Cambridge PD added.
Nine people were arrested and now face several charges including Disorderly Conduct. The protestors are due to be arraigned in Cambridge District Court on Tuesday.
Cambridge PD said the protestors’ actions “created an extremely hazardous situation for everybody present, including themselves, passersby, and the officers.”
But the force insisted it is “committed to providing ample space and opportunities for protestors to engage in freedom of speech.”
Monday’s protest came after Palestine Action activists threw red paint and blockaded the entrance to Elbit’s Boston facility earlier in the month.
The group claims Elbit Systems “arm the genocide of the Palestinian people.”
🚨 BREAKING: Palestine Actionists shut down Elbit Systems in Boston. Multiple arrests made. Business is completely halted! pic.twitter.com/ayJgWpo7jM
— Palestine Action US (@Pal_ActionUS) October 30, 2023
Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October, killing more than 1,400 people and taking dozens hostage across the Gaza border.
Since then, Israel has launched retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza, resulting in the death of over 8,000 Palestinians.
The Israeli government ordered the “complete siege” of Gaza as authorities cut off electricity and blocked the entry of food and fuel.
Over the weekend, Israel widened its air and ground assault, cutting all telecommunications in the city, leaving millions of residents without power or means of contact.
International humanitarian organisations said the blackout, which began late on Friday, was worsening an already desperate situation by impeding life-saving operations and preventing contact with their staff on the ground.
Aid organisations also said the blackout caused citizens in Gaza to be unable to call ambulances.