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Citing Israel, protesters accuse US weapons firm of abuses, block plant entrance

Demonstrators at Raytheon in Rhode Island say defense contractor profiting from ‘killing of civilians, families, and children in Palestine,’ also highlight Saudi actions in Yemen

Screen capture from video of protestors outside a plant of US defense contractor Raytheon in Rhode Island, on August 12, 2021. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video of protestors outside a plant of US defense contractor Raytheon in Rhode Island, on August 12, 2021. (Twitter)

PORTSMOUTH, Rhode Island — A group of activists blocked the entrance to a Raytheon plant in Rhode Island on Thursday morning to protest what they allege is the company’s role in the “killing of civilians” and “other human rights abuses.”

Some members of a group called the Fang Collective chained themselves to a car next to the guard shack at the entrance to the Portsmouth plant.

Protestors held up a placard with “Palestine” written on it and chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a slogan often seen as a call for Israel’s destruction.

Law enforcement, firefighters, and tow trucks had also responded to the scene.

The group said in an emailed statement that it was protesting the Waltham, Massachusetts-based defense contractor’s “weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and their involvement in enforcing the US- Mexican border.”

“Raytheon profits from the killing of civilians, families, and children in Palestine, Yemen, and elsewhere,” the group said.

It claimed to have succeeded in blocking off the plant for five hours and that at least one person was arrested.

Raytheon’s Missiles & Defense plant in Portsmouth focuses on what it calls seapower capability — sensors, combat management systems, radar, and sonar. About 1,000 people work at the facility.

“We respect the right to lawful and peaceful protest,” the company said in a brief emailed statement.

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