On August 9, 2006, during the waning days of Israel’s offensive military operations in Southern Lebanon, a group of anti-war protesters from the Derry Anti-War Coalition occupied the Raytheon Munitions Plant in Northern Ireland.
OUR MOTIVATION was to prevent war crimes. Israel’s bombardment was causing carnage and destruction in Lebanon, and we knew they were using Raytheon manufactured bombs.
We were particularly outraged by the bombing of the town of Qana. Israel dropped a bomb on one complex there, killing 28 people, the majority of them women and children, crushed and suffocated beneath the rubble.
We believed this required an immediate response. We decided to take action to disrupt, delay and hamper Raytheon’s ability, in whatever way possible, to deliver weapons of mass destruction to Israel and participate in war crimes.
The civil disobedience of the anti-war activists shut down production at the Raytheon plant for three crucial days near the end of the offensive.
The “Raytheon 9” were eventually arrested and charged with Criminal Damage. Six of those nine protesters were finally put on trial in May of this year.
During their three-week trial in Belfast, the Defendants argued that it is not a crime to resist a war crime. On Wednesday, the jury agreed.