Police hunt four strong balaclava gang who smashed up Doncaster offices in Palestine demo

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Police say they are hunting a four strong balaclava wearing gang who attacked two Doncaster office blocks with hammers and red paint in a pro-Palestine demonstration.

The offices of Thales and Fisher German in Carolina Court, Lakeside, were both targeted in the early hours of Tuesday by a gang, dressed head to toe in black, who smashed windows and blasted the frontage of the offices with red paint.

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Now South Yorkshire Police say they are hunting those responsible – and have urged anyone with information to come forward.

Footage showed people dressed in black attacking the offices of Thales in Doncaster.Footage showed people dressed in black attacking the offices of Thales in Doncaster.
Footage showed people dressed in black attacking the offices of Thales in Doncaster.

A spokesman said: “Police were called at 1.41am on Tuesday 22 August following reports of criminal damage at a premises on Lakeside Business Park in Doncaster.

“It is reported that four people wearing dark clothing and balaclavas sprayed paint on the building and smashed several windows, before fleeing the scene.

“While at the scene, officers discovered a second building had also been damaged. Enquiries are ongoing.”

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Anyone with information that could help should contact police via online live chat, the online portal or by calling 101.

Please quote investigation number 56 of 22 August when you get in touch. You can access the online portal here: www.southyorks.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/.

Protest group Palestine Action has said both firms were targeted over links to Israel’s military and surveillance drones which they say are being used to target Palestinians in Gaza.

Thales has responded to the incident – and said an investigation is underway.

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A spokesman said: “We continue to work with the police who are investigating this incident.

"Our focus remains on the well-being of our affected employees and the safety of the site.

“With regards to exports, Thales is an integral part of the UK defence and security industry - this sector works within UK ethical and transparency standards that are among the most robust of any country in the world.

“The rigorous and transparent exports control system operated by the UK Government assesses every export licence application against key criteria.

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"These include respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and respect by the country of final destination for international humanitarian law.”

Footage filmed during the attack showed two demonstrators, dressed head to toe in black smashing windows and doors with a hammer while another sprays the building frontage with red paint.

Thales offices and factories across the UK have been targeted by pro-Palestine activists in recent years, claiming the firm supplies Israel with drones used for surveillance of Palestinian people.

Previously, activists have protested over Thales’s arms productions, which include military drones and armoured vehicles, but in recent attacks have been focusing on the firm’s involvement in the Watchkeeper drone scheme.

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The drone, which is reported to have been made in collaboration with Israel’s Elbit Systems, has been used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, as well as over British waters, the group claims.

In 2021, Elbit Systems’ factory in Leicester was targeted, with protesters scaling the roof and displaying Palestine flags. Factories and offices in Glasgow have also been targeted.

Palestine Action came forward to say a group of ‘anti-Imperialist’ activists calling themselves the “Doncaster Dismantlers” were behind both attacks, which they say are connected to arms sales to Israel.

A spokesman said: “An underground group dubbed the 'Doncaster Dismantlers' have taken actions at the site of two companies with links to Israel's war machine.

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"These actions are another instance of targeted economic sabotage taken under the banner of 'Palestine Action Underground', wherein autonomous cells have taken covert direct action against companies complicit in the ongoing colonisation of Palestine.”

Palestine Action says both companies hold extensive business ties to Israel's Elbit Systems, a military technology company providing 85% of Israel's drones and land-based military equipment.

The spokesman said: “The 'Doncaster Dismantlers' have taken it upon themselves to ensure that their town is free of complicity in the crimes committed with Israel's British-made drones.

“This autonomous direct action represents new strength in the anti-Imperialist movement in Britain, as independent groups take up the mantle of ensuring that Israel-supplying companies cannot go about their 'business-as-usual' while Palestinians are killed daily by the occupation regime.

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“These murders are made possible only by continued international silence on the crimes of the occupation regime, along with the continued supply of weapons and technologies to Israeli forces.

"Palestine Action support the autonomous acts of those working to undermine this complicity, and call on other regions to replicate the bravery of the Doncaster Dismantlers.”