Generation Change

UK: What is legitimate protest?

A climate organiser and an anti-arms activist discuss different tactics for change from within and outside the political system.

Facing tighter rules on protest, activists across the United Kingdom are going to great lengths to force attention onto issues like the climate crisis or international arms trade.

In this episode, two activists discuss the use of different tactics and paths for achieving change.

Fatima-Zahra Ibrahim is a co-founder of Green New Deal Rising, a movement of young people who challenge politicians on their climate record and campaign for a just transition to a green economy.

Anti-arms activist Huda Ammori is a co-founder of Palestine Action, which campaigns to shut down factories linked to the arms trade operating on UK soil, such as those of Elbit Systems.

We contacted Elbit Systems UK, about some of the comments expressed in this episode, who said:

“Elbit Systems UK Ltd is a defence, technology and aerospace company with three wholly owned subsidiaries and two joint ventures in the UK.

“Elbit Systems UK is proud to provide advanced technology and critical support for the UK armed forces, particularly during a time of heightened global instability. We believe the men and women serving in our armed forces should have the best possible equipment available and our highly skilled staff are working hard to deliver what they need.

“Across the country on our 16 sites, we employ over 600 people engaged in a range of high tech and specialist manufacturing activities, with a similar number of jobs sustained directly in our UK supply chain. We work on a range of different technologies for both military and civilian applications.

“In common with other defence, technology and aerospace firms, we have at times faced peaceful protests from those who strongly oppose armed conflict, which is of course the right of any individual in a free and democratic country.

“However, in recent years a small and misinformed group has led a violent campaign, during which our staff have been abused and our property has been damaged. We condemn this campaign of violence and intimidation, and completely reject the misinformation propagated by a group attempting to illegally prevent our business from operating.

“Despite many claims to the contrary, these violent attacks have not had any impact on our ability to fulfill our responsibilities to our UK customers and we continue to invest and expand our range of services.

“We fully support the work of the police and relevant authorities to take action against individuals who clearly have no respect for the rule of law, and do not understand the true nature and purpose of our business.”