It was a busy morning in Niles, with about 100 youth-led Palestinian demonstrators demonstrating outside the Woodward manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Niles.
Woodward is an aerospace manufacturer serving commercial and military markets. The company makes “control actuation systems” for tactical missiles and guided weapons, according to its website.
Activists protesting Wednesday allege that Woodward manufactures parts for Boeing that were used in bombs dropped on Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war.
The incident began a few months ago, when a photo from Gaza showed debris from a missile bearing the Woodward logo. This photo has not been independently verified and its origin is unknown.
“When we learned about this, we came together and organized this action,” said Jinan Chehadeh, an activist and Chicago resident. “I’m here to send a message to you to stop.” ”
The group blocked approximately five entrances to Woodward for more than six hours to prevent employees and deliveries from passing through.
“We’re here today to tell them to end their contract with Boeing, and not only to end it, but to stop military aid to Israel,” the activist said. Rifka Faraneh told NBC Chicago. Because all of these things intertwine so well that all of these things intertwine so well. ”
Niles police ultimately arrested 33 protesters, all of whom were charged with unlawful assembly and released from custody.
“These individuals … intentionally sat in the roadway to obstruct traffic and pose a danger to Croname and Howard Streets,” Niles Police said in a statement. “Several other participants continued to move while verbally agitating law enforcement officers and first responders.”
Protesters said the response was unnecessary.
“They wore bulletproof vests and brought dogs with them, so I don’t know why they were exposed to so much violence,” Farane said.
NBC 5 News reached out to Woodward in Niles. Mr. Woodward directed all inquiries to the company’s headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado. NBC Chicago reached out to corporate headquarters several times for comment, but did not receive a response.
Last year, Woodward issued a statement to Colorado media outlets on the topic, saying: Although we are not involved in policy decisions regarding the use of defense equipment, including our products, we remain committed to serving all of our customers. ”
This article will be updated pending response from Woodward.