Sunday, December 28, 2008

Camping on Raytheon's Roof


by: UK Indymedia

Protesters in Bristol, England are occupying the roof of Raytheon Corporation, maker of the Patriot missile (model shown here) and "bunker buster" bombs, to demand the company leave their town. (Photo: Lefteris Pitarakis / AP)

Three hardy protestors have spent the last nine days camping on the roof of Raytheon's Bristol office; they intend to stay on the roof until the New Year! They are braving sub-zero temperatures, and are relying on the support of ordinary Bristolians, to drive Raytheon out of Bristol.

Raytheon is the fifth largest military contracter in the world, and the maker of "Bunker Buster" bombs, Tomahawk and Patriot missiles. A number of their missiles can be loaded with cluster bombs. Raytheon have annual revenues of around USD 20 billion, including huge contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and have regularly been found guilty of illegal activity.

The current roof-top protest is the third such protest to have targetted Raytheon in the last two months. There have also been a series of weekly protests as Bristolians have gathered to express their disgust at Raytheon's activities.

Last week supporters on the ground delivered a letter to the office unit, Argentum House, informing them that Raytheon is breaching international law and should be given notice to leave. One roof-top protester said, The US and Britain had no more right to invade Iraq or Afghanistan than Nazi Germany did to invade Poland or France. Raytheon played their part by producing foul, indiscriminate weapons and we won't be quiet till they have left our city for good...

Raytheon were targetted in 2006 by a group of activists in Derry, who were angry at the part Raytheon played in the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. On 9 August 2003, a jury accepted that the nine had acted to prevent a war crime, and unanimously declared the nine innocent. In their statement after the trial the nine said, "This victory is welcome, for ourselves and our families, but we wish to dedicate it to the Shaloub and Hasheem families of Qana in Lebanon, who lost 28 of their closest relatives on the 30 July 2006 due to a Raytheon 'bunker buster' bomb."

Raytheon also manufactured the missile that killed 62 civilians in a Baghdad market in 2003.

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