Sussex rs21 member Lou Hayton reports on the diversity of Palestine organising in Brighton

L3 Harris Peace Camp

On the weekend of the 16/17th March a group of activists set up a Peace Camp on the Lewes Road in Brighton, next to the road that runs up to the L3Harris arms factory in
Moulsecoombe, East Brighton. The factory makes the bomb racks and missile release
mechanisms used in the F-35 jet planes used by the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) to bomb Gaza (and also by the Turkish government to bomb the Kurdish people). There is a separate, but related, campaign against L3Harris and the Peace Camp is more to highlight the presence of the weapons manufacturer and to communicate with the local population about its presence.

The Camp has regular evening discussions, meetings, activist training and music to which locals have been coming to talk. Most of them were not previously aware that there even was an arms factory in Brighton. There have also been a number of workshops over fighting fascism, anti-raids and other activities, and the Brighton Agitators were due to play there last weekend. This has certainly worked (I have to admit until October I didn’t know there was still an arms factory in Brighton) in the remit they gave themselves. This has helped to publicise the campaign to stop L3Harris making a temporary shed into a permanent extension, which received hundreds of objections from Brighton and Hove residents.

The Council were slightly blindsided when the camp was set up with Council officers unable to decide whether the camp fell foul of guidelines which have been drawn up to move homeless people on who are living in a tent, they couldn’t deal with a small encampment!!. They are likely to be back around Easter weekend with a different department and the activists are not planning on resisting attempts to move them on.

The Palestine Solidarity campaign in the area has thrown up a whole host of initiatives since October, which has not only consolidated a large number of activists, working together through the Ceasefire Coalition, but has continued to bring in new people using a wide variety of tactics. 

We have had a die-in in the centre of Brighton, at least 3 station occupations, Dabke dancing and a, very moving I have to say, March in Black (of over 800 people) after 100 Palestinians were murdered by the IDF waiting for food in Khan Younis, not to mention the fundraising walk from Brighton to Lewes (£10,000+) for Medical Aid for Palestine, as well as all the regular petitioning and the national demonstrations. 

 

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