Pro-Palestinian campaigners climbed the roof of a defence firm factory in Southampton this morning calling for the liberation of Palestine.

Three Palestine Action protesters broke into Leonardo UK's factory on First Avenue in Millbrook just before 7am and hung a Palestinian flag on the railings of the building.

Protesters also filmed themselves using a sledgehammer to cause damage to the building.

Police, firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene to ensure the safety of those involved. They were there for more than four hours.

Leonardo is one of the UK's leading aerospace companies and one of the biggest suppliers of defence and security equipment to the Ministry of Defence.

Protesters occupied the site over its alleged ties to Israel.

Daily Echo: Palestinian flag on the roof of the defence firm building in MillbrookPalestinian flag on the roof of the defence firm building in Millbrook (Image: Newsquest)

During the standoff, officers flew a drone over the building to monitor the situation.

After reaching the roof, police arrested three people, a 28-year-old man from Cambridge and a 68-year-old woman from Norwich, on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

Details of the second man arrested are yet to be revealed.

While officers dealt with the incident, bystanders stood near the factory’s gates shouting their support for Palestine.

Daily Echo: Police at Leonardo UK firm arresting the protestorsPolice at Leonardo UK firm arresting the protestors (Image: Newsquest)

Lara Jabour, 51, from Southampton said: "I am calling not only for a ceasefire but complete liberation of Palestine. I am calling out the complicity of people in power and if they don’t listen to the public then it’s time for us to take direct action and that is what is happening here."

Asked whether she condemns Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, Ms Jabour said: “I condemn anyone who condemns the right to resistance. Every occupied nation has the right to resist, including violently, in any way they see fit.

“Hamas is a resistance to the occupation, you can’t talk of October 7 without keeping in mind the previous 75 years.”

Daily Echo: Lara Jabour, 51 from SouthamptonLara Jabour, 51 from Southampton (Image: Newsquest)

An estimated 10,800 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 27,000 injured since the conflict was reignited last month.

Around 1,400 Israelis have been killed and more than 5,400 injured as of November 9, according to Israeli authorities and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

In a statement, a Palestine Action spokesperson said: "Early on Thursday morning, Palestine Action scaled the Leonardo UK weapons factory in Southampton and occupied the rooftop, shutting down production at the site."

They added: "The activists intend to sustain their occupation of the arms factory at First Avenue, Millbrook Industrial Estate, Southampton, for as long as possible to maximise disruption to the deadly arms industry which supplies Israel."

Leonardo UK's Southampton factory houses around 400 staff.

It manufactures InfraRed (IR) detectors and Thermal Imaging (TI) sensors which play "a crucial role in supporting military, security and civil clients".

A spokesperson for the company said: “This morning a small group of protestors entered the Leonardo site in Southampton and were removed by police. Together with the authorities, we are keeping our people fully informed.”