England

Protesters target Shenstone and Broadstairs drone factories

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Media captionStaffordshire Police said officers arrested 18 men and one woman,

Nineteen people have been arrested after protesters targeted two factories that make parts for drone aircraft.

UAV Engines in Shenstone, Staffordshire and Instro Precision in Broadstairs, Kent, are owned by Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit.

The two firms have yet to comment on the action marking the anniversary of attacks on Gaza a year ago.

Staffordshire Police said it had arrested 18 males and one female at Shenstone.

The force said arrests had been made, "in response to breaches of a High Court order and some public order offences".

Police said the protest had "ended peacefully" and those arrested were being held in police custody.

Chief Insp Steve Smith, from Staffordshire Police, said "At Shenstone, a number of protesters locked themselves to fencing and others blocked the road.

"A civil injunction is in place around this location so police have the power to arrest anyone breaching this injunction," he said.

Image caption Police pushed protesters back at Shenstone so Lynn Lane could be reopened

At the height, more than 100 people gathered outside UAV Engines, some of them lying across the road.

The protesters said they were a mix of Palestine solidarity campaigners and anti-arms trade activists.

Police said officers were at the scene to make sure protests were carried out peacefully and to "minimise the impact on others".

At Shenstone, police pushed back protesters in order to reopen Lynn Lane which had been closed in the morning.

Image caption A civil injunction is in place around the Shenstone factory site

Protesters were also escorted down from the roof of a property on a Tamworth industrial estate earlier.

Last year nine people were arrested after a two-day rooftop protest in Shenstone. The charges were later dropped.

The Broadstairs plant was also previously targeted by protesters earlier this year.

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