Photo and article: Bristol Indymedia
(December 19, 2008) Three hardy protesters 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 contractor 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 has annual revenues of around USD 20 billion, including huge contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has regularly been found guilty of illegal activity.
The current roof-top protest is the third such protest to have targeted 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 its part by producing foul, indiscriminate weapons and we won’t be quiet till they have left our city for good.”
Raytheon was targeted in 2006 by 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.”