POLICE have arrested four protesters after dramatic clashes outside an arms factory in Scotland.

The first person to be detained by officers was placed into the back of a police van before protesters moved to create a human barricade to prevent it from leaving.

Activists were seen throwing themselves in front of police vehicles in an attempt to block the police vehicles, leading to further detentions.

Police were seen grabbing protesters, pinning them to the ground, and pushing them away from the Thales site amid shouts of “thugs” and “who killed Sheku Bayoh”.

Police said that two officers had to be taken to hospital, and that one had been discharged while another "remains there for further assessment".

Police further said six officers in total were injured in the clashes "including one who was bitten on the arm".

They further confirmed that three men aged 18, 28 and 29, and a 21-year-old woman were arrested and charged during the demonstration. 

The protest had been peaceful for more than five hours after activists first arrived to blockade the two entrances to the Thales factory at around 5am on Wednesday morning.

The demonstrators were marking the 1948 Nakba – when approximately 750,000 civilians were displaced from Palestine – and calling for an end to Israeli arms exports amid the risk of genocide in Gaza.

Thales produces the Watchkeeper drone, which is developed with Israeli arms company Elbit Systems.

As the blockade entered its fifth hour, police said that there were a small number of security personnel who had been working night shifts stuck within the Thales site. Protesters were heard to say they would let them leave, but would not let more staff in to replace them.

As a result, at around 10:15, officers moved in on and broke the blockade on the Thales factory, leading to clashes. Security staff were escorted into the site, followed by management.

After the clashes, one protester was picked out of the crowd and detained in the back of a police van.

When others moved to prevent the vehicle from leaving, further clashes between protesters and officers ensued and a helicopter was launched from the police air support site, which was coincidentally next door.

At least one activist who had laid down in front of the police vehicles was detained.

Chief Inspector Derrick Johnston said: “We have a legal duty to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest as well as those affected by protest activity, however officers were met with an unacceptable level of hostility and resistance today.

“One of our officers was bitten, assaults are not part of the job and will not be tolerated, and we were fortunately able to arrest the individual responsible.

“When policing any protest our priorities are to ensure the safety of protestors, the public and police officers involved as well as preventing criminal behaviour or disorder and de-escalating tensions.

“We are committed to protecting the rights of people who wish to protest, however when this is not done peacefully, officers are required to maintain public order and will exercise their powers of arrest if necessary.”

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One protester told The National: “I work in Govan, I live in Govanhill, I’ve got a young son, one-and-a-half, and the things that I’ve been seeing happening in Palestine have moved me to action, along with a lot of the people here.”

He called on the UK Government to block weapons exports to Israel, citing the ICJ ruling that it’s “plausible” that the state could be committing genocide, and added: “We’re looking to come here to do the best that we can to make a people’s embargo on weapons.”

A spokesperson for Thales said: “Thales is extremely proud of its role in helping to protect the UK and keep our armed forces safe. Regarding exports, Thales adheres to the UK Government’s industry control system for overseas sales, one of the most rigorous and transparent of its kind in the world.

“While those outside our site in Glasgow have the right to protest peacefully, we will work with authorities to prosecute anyone who threatens our employees, our property, or our important work for the UK armed forces.”