Shouting “quit your job” and “stop arming Israel,” more than 150 Palestinian supporters rallied outside the headquarters of Raytheon in Goleta on Thursday to call for a cease-fire.
Some of the demonstrators lined up on the sidewalk on Robin Hill Road and blocked the main entrance to Raytheon, forcing employees to enter at different parts of the building. Other protesters lined up on Hollister Avenue.
“On the anniversary of the beginning of these horrific bombings of Palestine, we are here to call for a cease-fire,” said Charmaine, one of the protesters and designated spokesperson for the rally. “We are calling for an end to private military contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, and we are calling for the U.S. to call for a cease-fire and stop arming Israel.”
Many of the demonstrators wore face coverings and didn’t want to give their full names out of concerns for their personal safety. They waived Palestinian flags, held up signs and advocated on behalf of Palestine.
“There’s just a complete silence and complete censorship of Palestinian viewpoints, Palestinian lives,” Charmaine said. “The disproportionality of the deaths is something that people keep ignoring, almost as if 10,000 deaths of Palestinians is somehow justified.”
She said “common decency” should recognize what the Palestinians are experiencing.
“You don’t have to be political to understand there are 4,000 Palestinian children who have died, there are 10,000 lives lost, some buried under rubble, people can’t eat, people can’t sleep,” Charmaine said.
Raytheon security guards watched over the event, and the company’s employees, some of them taking footage of the protesters, huddled in the parking lot. Noozhawk approached Raytheon’s security to speak to someone with the company, but they did not comment.
The event turned dramatic after a Raytheon employee attempted to turn into the driveway, but the demonstrators blocked the entrance. The car nudged forward against at least one of the protesters. The driver refused to back up until a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy stood in front of the car.
After the incident, sheriff’s Sgt. Joshua Cockrell explained to the crowd that they could not legally block a driveway to private property.
“If you choose to block that driveway, you can either get cited or we can take people to jail,” Cockrell told the group. “We really don’t want to do that. We don’t have a problem with you guys being peaceful and not causing an issue, but when people can’t use the driveway freely, that is a violation.”
On Oct. 7, Hamas launched thousands of missiles from Gaza while hundreds of heavily armed militants streamed into southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 Jewish people and taking hundreds hostage.
The Israeli response has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians.
The Palestinian activists handed out fliers that summarized their position at the demonstration. The flier said that RTX, the parent company of Raytheon, is the largest weapon’s supplier to Israel and that U.S. companies are “directly complicit in the mass murder and displacement of Palestinian civilians.”
“Palestinian trade unions have called for workers and trade unions around the world to take action and stop the flow of arms to Israel,” the flier states.
The event was endorsed by the Central Coast Anti-War Coalition, CODEPINK-SB and Cops Off Campus UCSB.