SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Police in Melbourne arrested seven pro-Palestinian protesters who stormed the roof of an Israel-based company, accusing it of “supporting genocide.”
The protesters, from a coalition called the Melbourne Palestine Action Group, surrounded the factory belonging to Elbit Systems Friday morning, chanting “Elbit, Elbit you can’t hide, you are supporting genocide.”
Elbit Systems of Australia manufactures defense equipment, including the drones used by the Israel Defense Forces during its war in Gaza. The company also manufactures defense equipment for the Australian army.
The protesters occupied the roof around 5 a.m.. and were arrested around 10 a.m., according to police. They were released with a court summons for trespassing.
A spokeswoman for the group, Sam Castro, said the group would continue to target Elbit. “This draws attention to the fact the Australian government has complicity in the killing of children in Gaza by allowing a war profiteer to operate in our city,” she was quoted as saying in the Guardian Australia.
Nina Bassat, the president of the Jewish community in Melbourne, said the protest “accentuates” the difference between the how the two sides are responding to the conflict. “The Jews in our community pray for peace and the Palestinian supporters express aggressive behavior,” she was quoted as saying on J-Wire, a local Jewish blog.