Merrimack police were called to the Elbit Systems facility shortly before 8 a.m. after demonstrators blocked the entrance and several people climbed onto the roof. In a post on X, a group called Palestine Action US said its “actionists” who had taken to the roof were detained and linked the protest to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.
Merrimack Police Chief Brian Levesque said officers found that the front of the office had been tagged with red spray paint and the building’s windows had been smashed. At least one of the main doors to the lobby had also allegedly been locked up with anti-bicycle theft device.
The arrested people were identified as Bridget Irene Shergalis, 27, of Connecticut, and Massachusetts locals Sophie Marika Ross, 22, and 19-year-old Calla Mairead Walsh. All three have been charged with riot, sabotage, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct.
The group were held on preventative detention ahead of an expected arraignment on Tuesday. The FBI is assisting local law enforcement in the investigation, according to WTNH.
“As millions in Gaza stand to spend the week under tarps w out food, water, medical care, 3 Actionists are accused of taking practical steps to remediate their suffering,” Palestine Action US said in a post on X. “They should not be locked up for this; they should be celebrated.”
The organization added that its “3 comrades have been handed a slew of trumped-up charges” and described their prosecution as “political targeting.”
Elbit Systems describes itself on its website as “an international high technology company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world, primarily in the defense and homeland security arenas.” It calls its American subsidiary a company which makes “products and systems solutions focusing on U.S. military, homeland security, medical instrumentation and commercial aviation customers.”
The company has been the subject of other international protests over its role in supplying the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Three women and a man were arrested in Leicester, U.K., on Monday in a protest at an Elbit subsidiary, UAV Tactical Systems. A company spokesperson told the BBC that the British factory isn’t actually involved in supplying the Israeli military.