Palestine Action blockades Israeli drone factory in Leicester, demanding an end to “Gaza genocide”

Plus: Police federation reveals poor mental health, Eid celebrations occur at Victoria Park, and work on the market continues.

Photo of a protestor in a car at the factory with a police officer standing outside the passanger door

In Focus

Palestine Action blockades Israeli drone factory in Leicester, demanding an end to “Gaza genocide”

by Molly Lee

On Thursday, 11 April, Palestine Action crashed two cars into the bollards of UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS) at Meridian Business Park in Braunstone Town. Activists used D-locks to attach themselves to the steering wheels of their vehicles, preventing immediate removal by police. Dozens of local people came out to reinforce the blockade, with some chanting ‘murderer’ to workers as they were forced to drive home.

According to a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, two activists were subsequently charged but later released from custody. 

A Palestine Action spokesperson said: 

“The apparatus of the Israeli military has been embedded into our communities without our permission. Despite legal and moral obligations, our political lass continues to make us complicit in the Gaza genocide. So we’re left with no option but to take direct action and shut Elbit down. Day after day, we will disrupt the Israeli war machine in solidarity with the Palestinian people".

U-TacS is majority-owned by Elbit Systems, an Israeli-based military electronics company, and partially owned by French arms company Thales. The factory in Leicester is used to design, test, and manufacture drones.

Palestine Action activists claim Elbit supplies 85% of Israel’s drone fleet and land-based military equipment, marketing its weapons to the world as ‘battle-tested’ on Palestinians. However, the company has consistently denied these claims.

An Elbit-manufactured drone, Hermes 450, is currently in use in the ongoing war in Gaza. The Campaign Against Arms Trade – a UK-based organisation working to end the international arms trade – claims the Israeli military used this drone to murder seven aid workers while they were delivering food to besieged Palestinians in Gaza recently. The seven aid workers were part of a team from World Central Kitchen.

Several activists from Palestine Action have upcoming trials in Leicester, including one at Leicester Crown Court in May and another at Leicester Magistrates Court in June.

In February, Kuehne+Nagel, a transportation company based at Meridian Business Park, severed its ties with Elbit after repeated protests by Palestine Action.

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Weather Forecast

by Phil Morrish

🌧️ Monday: A wet start with some heavy rain. This will clear to showers during the morning, but still be some heavy ones around in the afternoon. A strong wind gusting to 40mph will make it feel cool, with a max of 9C. Monday night blustery with min 5C.

🌧️ ☁️ Tuesday-Friday: Showery with blustery winds at first, but by Thursday, becoming drier and brighter as high-pressure edges in from the west. Max temps up to 12C with min down to 5C.

☀️ Weekend: Generally dry with bright spells and pleasant as winds turn westerly. Turning milder with temperatures up to 15C by Saturday. Much lighter winds, with max gusts of 20mph.

In the News

by Rhys Everquill

More than 80% of police officers experiencing poor mental health: Leicestershire Police Federation has revealed that some 64% of local police officers would not recommend joining the police amid high levels of stress, low mood, anxiety and other mental health concerns. A further 15% said they are thinking of leaving - LDRS

Leicester’s Eid celebrations at Victoria Park: Thousands of people attended Victoria Park for an annual gathering to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, a sacred month for those of the Islamic faith. It began with prayers at 9am, followed by a festival with inflatable attractions, a collection of Halal food stalls, ice cream and a discounted funfair - Leicester Times 

Data taken in council cyber-attack ‘could be sold’: An expert in IT at De Montfort University has speculated that the large batch of documents that were released by the hacker group recently may be sold to the highest bidder. Leicester City Council insists there has been no ransom demand at this stage - BBC East Midlands Today

Work on Leicester Market continues: Leicester City Council says the first phase of work, which started last month, is “on track to be completed shortly”, with most of the old structure torn down. The 1990s roof of the city’s fruit and vegetable market has been removed, and the old wooden stalls destroyed - LDRS 

Leicester girl undergoes life-changing brain surgery: Sophia, seven, suffered from a rare neurological condition which caused life-threatening fits known as ‘movement storms'. Since the procedure, which is described as a ‘pacemaker of the brain’, the seven-year-old is beginning to have more of a normal life - Leicester Mercury

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What’s On

by Leah Everquill

🚨 – Last chance
💷 – Entry fee
🆓 – Free of charge

💷 Art History: Every Picture Tells a Story – 17 April to 10 July 2024

Fancy learning about the history of art? Attenborough Arts Centre is hosting a sensational 10-week course taught through lectures. Over 18s only. Runs Wednesdays 10:30am-12pm. The entire course costs £85, or £60 for anyone with a disability, a student, or staff and students at the University of Leicester.

💷 Silence – 16 to 20 April 2024

Visit Curve Theatre to watch Tara Theatre’s fantastic production, which tells the story of the 1947 Partition of India based on real-life testimonies. Matinee and evening performances are available. Tickets from £10.

💷 Hejira: Celebrating Joni Mitchell – 18 April 2024

Pop down to The Y Theatre to hear the seven-piece band Hejira play the iconic songs of Joni Mitchell. Tickets from £6.50. Doors open at 7:30pm.

💷 Miscast: Encore – 18 to 20 April 2024

Head to The Sue Townsend Theatre for a fun performance of your favourite musical theatre songs. Matinee and evening performances are available. Tickets from £12.50.

🆓 Upcycling for Everyone – 20 April 2024

If you’d like to learn how to upcycle, head over to Leicester Museum & Art Gallery for this terrific free workshop. Runs from 11am-3pm.

🆓 St. George and the Bard – Free Guided Tours – 20 to 23 April 2024

Do you like to learn about history? Visit Leicester Guildhall to hear about its connections with Shakespeare and learn more about St George’s DayRuns from 11:30pm-3:30pm.

Leicester Events – Calendar – What’s On
Want to know what’s happening in Leicester? Use our calendar to explore Leicester events and community activities by day, week or month.

On the Market

by Mark Pearson

Enjoy open-plan living with a top-floor duplex apartment in Aylestone. This two-bedroom property needs refurbishment but has a shared garden and dedicated parking space. 107 years remaining on the lease. Ground rent and service charge to pay.

Price: £120,000

Charming 2-Bed Flat in Aylestone
Check out this lovely flat with open plan living and a large master bedroom - perfect for first-time buyers or investors. 🏡

Food and Drink

by David Landwehr

Photo of bacon-topped mac and cheese from thegreedygrillerz

Faye and Nick are the lovely people behind thegreedygrillerz, a very new small business that makes some of the best street food you can get your hands on. You can find freshly made smash burgers, pulled pork-loaded fries (slow-cooked by Faye for 14+ hours!), and bacon-topped mac and cheese!

Price: £6

Sports Highlights

by David Landwehr

Men’s football: As the Championship season draws to a close the fight has never been closer at the top. After a disappointing loss to Plymouth, Leicester are holding onto 2nd position in the table. Read more

Women’s football: LCFC Women’s also suffered a hard-fought defeat this weekend at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-1 score. This loss signals their exit from the FA Cup. Read more

Men’s cricket: Leicestershire CCC get their season underway this week on the 19 April. The foxes play Derbyshire away at the Incora County Ground. Leicestershire look for a solid start to the season after a rough 2023. Read more


by Megan Lupton

An ordnance map of North-East Leicester, leading to Thurmaston. Credit: Ordnance Survey / National Library of Scotland

An ordnance map of North-East Leicester, leading to Thurmaston. The area was surveyed in 1885 and published in 1886.

Degree-level part-time courses, workshops and seminars at Leicester Vaughan College

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