SEDGEMOOR may seem a million miles from some of the world's largest defence manufacturers.

But a link you may not be aware of brought criminal damage to the doorstep of Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) this week.

Protestors daubed the council's headquarters in King Square with red paint and sprayed slogans over a link the council has with a defence firm through investment.

In January last year, SDC acquired two office blocks in Aztec West in Bristol.

One of the existing tenants at the block - Elbit Systems - is an Israeli-owned defence manufacturer, specialising in drones, but also developing systems for military aircraft, boats, land vehicles and more.

Pro-Palestine campaigners are currently carrying out a pro-active campaign of protest against those involved with such campanies, which brought the damage to Bridgwater.

SDC said it has CCTV of the damage being done, and that it has all been cleared.

"The police have been informed and we have some CCTV footage," a spokesperson said. 

"There are only a handful of staff working in Bridgwater House; the vast majority are still working at home, as they have been since March 2020.

"The reception area is not open, as this has also been closed since March 2020 with alternative methods being used for customers who need to contact us."

Campaign group Palestine Action has claimed responsibility for the damage, and posted a video of the attack on YouTube.

Meanwhile, the opposition Labour group at SDC has condemned the investment and called for its disposal at the earliest opportunity.

Opposition leader, Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover), said: "Sedgemoor acquired the property as part of a general portfolio to generate income to replace the withdrawal of the Government rate support grant but the Labour Group opposed this specific investment from the outset and have regularly made the case for ethical investment of public money.

"This doesn’t just apply to investments like this which actively fund the Israeli military in their operations in Gaza but across the board investments such as ecological and other moral issues.

"I have called once again to withdraw from this company and to dispose of this investment at the earliest opportunity.

"I’m not specifically challenging the policy of investing to generate income because Sedgemoor Tories are a victim yet again of the their own Government's decision to withdraw local authority grant funding and have chosen instead to go into the casino and spin the wheel as a result, but I am saying that where there is public money involved people will want to know how their money is being invested and we have called consistently for ethical investments.

"They need to immediately agree to disengage from this property and this company."

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:
Stills from the video posted by Palestine Action

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:
The damage, as captured by a Bridgwater resident and posted on facebook