NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of local anti-war activists staged a protest in Northampton at L3Harris Technologies Thursday morning, blocking access to the facility for workers there.
The group Demilitarize Western Mass staged this protest, assembling at 5:30 in the morning to block access to the defense contractor’s parking lot, demanding that the $17-billion tech manufacturer and defense contractor make major changes. They brought with them three boat trailers and a boat, lining them up on public property at the intersection of the parking lot and the street.
Then, two women chained themselves together through a hole in the side of the boat and additional demonstrators locked themselves to each of the trailers. They are taking a stand against L3Harris’ work as a defense contractor, saying they don’t want weapons and equipment of war produced in their town.
“Basically we are calling on L3Harris to convert from war work to peace work,” said Nick Nottern of Demilitarize Western Mass. “A lot of people who work here are talented, imaginative and hard working people and I imagine that they wish they were making something else.”
“It makes me feel sick to know this is happening where I live, in a community that upholds such progressive values,” said Sonya.
22News asked the demonstrators how tensions were throughout the morning, they said there was a few angry exchanges with a long line of employees trying to access the lot. Once Northampton Police negotiated off-site parking and began to monitor the situation, things cooled down.
The protestors said they aren’t moving until L3Harris promises they will move from war work to peace work. They added that they have been planning this demonstration for months and that the sudden escalation between Israel and Hamas only makes it all the more apparent that the industrial war complex needs to end.
22News contacted L3Harris for their response to the protest but have yet heard back.