Above photo: Around 60 protesters blocked the entrance of Raytheon’s office in Tucson Thursday, Nov. 2. Sarah Lapidus.
A coalition representing “progressive Jewish anti-Zionist” and pro-Palestine organizations on Thursday staged a “die-in,” blocking the entrance of Raytheon’s Tucson office on Aeropark Boulevard.
The initial action featured about 60 protesters, clad in black with masks covering their faces and signs with messages decrying “genocide in Gaza.” They chanted “free Palestine” before lying down on the pavement.
Over the course of the first 20 minutes, The Arizona Republic observed roughly a dozen vehicles make a U-turn in front of the entrance being blocked by the protesters. Those staging the “die-in” were lying behind a series of ladders and barricades that they erected, while other protesters stood in front of it, closer to the road.
The Republic observed a close call between a protester standing in front of the barricades and a driver making a U-turn. A number of other drivers honked their horns in support.
Protesters blocked the intersection until around 9:30 a.m. They sought to disrupt the flow of business. Police were on the scene, but largely stood back.
The Thursday protest was organized by the Tucson Coalition for Palestine, Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance and Jewish Voice for Peace. The first two groups express support for Palestinians, while the latter describes itself as a “grassroots, multiracial, cross-class, intergenerational movement of U.S. Jews into solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle.” The Anti-Defamation League last week labeled it “a radical anti-Israel activist group.”
Raytheon was not immediately available for comment.
Organizers indicated they targeted Raytheon because they said it’s the largest private employer in Tucson. They also noted the company held the no. 2 spot in defense revenues in 2022, according to Defense News.
The “die-in” sought to “send a message that Raytheon cannot continue business as usual while its weapons are being used for the mass murder of civilians in Gaza.”
“Here in Tucson, Raytheon is a major supplier of missiles, bombs, and weapons systems to Israel through direct contracts and via the U.S. Department of Defense. These weapons are being used daily to commit war crimes,” the groups said in a news release.
“Tucson residents will say no to a genocide economy and demand that Raytheon stop profiting from the mass murder of civilians.”
The protest comes as the Associated Press reported Israeli troops advanced toward Gaza City, with the Palestinian death toll rising above 9,000.