More than 200 workers blocked access to the Toronto facility of weapons manufacturer L3Harris this morning (November 10), saying that Canada must stop arming Israel. The action was one of at least four blockades of plants in Ontario and Quebec which are providing weapons to Israel.
Other L3Harris plants were also affected. Fifty people, including many Indigenous people, blocked all access to the corporation’s factory in Waterdown just outside Hamilton, and several dozen activists shut off access to its Montreal facility.
In Ottawa, over 150 people blockaded the Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant.
The actions were organized by several peace and solidarity groups incluing World BEYOND War, Independent Jewish Voices, Labour for Palestine, and Labour Against the Arms Trade.
“Last week we shut down the Toronto arms manufacturer INKAS; today we’re escalating with workers and community members blockading and disrupting production at four different weapons plants this morning, belonging to L3Harris and Lockheed Martin,” said Rachel Small, organizer with World BEYOND War. “These companies’ weapons components and systems are being used right now to slaughter Palestinians in Gaza. We will not turn away from the horrors we are witnessing and are instead joining people around the world in holding our governments to account, blockading arms factories and shipments, and doing everything we can to cut off the flow of weapons to Israel.”
L3Harris produces parts which are used in the Israeli warships and Lockheed Martin manufacturers the fighter jets which Israel is using to bombard Gaza.
World BEYOND War notes that the Arms Trade Treaty, to which Canada is a signatory, prohibits transfers of arms which the exporting country knows could be used in genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva conventions, attacks directed against civilians or other war crimes. Many international organizations have indicated that there is ample evidence showing that Israel is using arms in these ways.
With over 10,000 Palestinians including over 4000 children killed since October 7; a blockade on water, electricity and food; a quarter of all buildings razed to the ground; and over a million people displaced, UN experts have denounced Israel’s actions as crimes against humanity.
Dozens of Palestinian trade unions and professional associations issued a global call for labour action on November 10 and 11 to halt the arms trade with Israel.
“Canadian workers do not want to be complicit with Israeli war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Echoing the calls of respected human rights organizations, union members are demanding that the Government of Canada end arms exports to Israel immediately” said Simon Black with Labour Against the Arms Trade. “But we won’t stand by while our government refuses to act.”
“We can’t just wash our hands of the crimes that the Israeli military is committing against the Palestinian people,” said Aidan Macdonald, member of Labour4Palestine. “Canada is actively and continually complicit in Israeli apartheid. Let’s remember that in 2022 alone, Canada exported over $21-million worth of military goods and technology exported to Israel. There are lots of other L3 Harris’ and Lockheeds and INKAS’ out there – and they’re all on notice. We are taking action to end Canadian complicity.”
“International solidarity is important to us,” said Thanu Subendran from the Tamil Freedom Coalition. “The Tamil people are no strangers to the genocide that is unfolding throughout all of Palestine. 14 years ago, our people were mercilessly massacred by the Sri Lankan state with military assistance provided by Israel. So, when Palestinian workers called on all of us to step up and put an end to the sale of arms to Israel, Tamils and all peoples of conscience have a moral obligation to answer that call.”
In addition to the blockades, the groups have organized an online petition calling on the Canadian government to end the sale of arms to Israel.
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