As Israeli forces were pounding Lebanon in the summer of 2006, nine anti-war activists in Northern Ireland occupied the offices of arms company Raytheon Systems Limited – the UK subsidiary of the US company Raytheon.
Raytheon, the fifth biggest arms manufacturer in the world, produces key components for some of the missiles used to target civilians and neighbourhoods during Israel’s attack.
The mass bombardment of Lebanon laid waste to hundreds of poor villages, leaving thousands dead or wounded.
In one incident Israeli forces targeted a shelter in the village of Qana killing 28 civilians. Among the dead were 16 children.
As news of the massacre at Qana broke, anti-war activists, including veteran civil rights campaigner Eamonn McCann, occupied the offices of the arms maker in Derry in protest.
They were arrested and charged for damaging property. Their trial began in Belfast last week.
The protest and trial of the Raytheon 9 highlights the hypocrisy of a government that punishes anti-war activists, yet allows arms manufacturers to supply their weapons of death unhindered.
For updates on the trial go to » www.raytheon9.org
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