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5 arrested after Pro-Palestinian protestors block entrances to Licking County Boeing facility

A protestor holds up a sign reading "Ceasefire NOW. STOP the Genocide" with a Palestinian flag painted on it.
George Shillcock
Multiple protests have erupted across central Ohio since the war between Hamas and Israel started. Multiple protestors blocked the entrance to the Ohio State University's administrative offices on Nov. 17, 2023.

Five people were arrested in the community of Heath in Licking County, after a group of more than 30 demonstrators blocked the entrance to a Boeing facility in protest of the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza.

Heath Police Chief David Harin told WOSU the Monday morning protest lasted about four hours. Harin said emergency crews broke up the demonstration that included cars and platforms blocking multiple bridges and popping the tires of one car to disable it and two protestors tying themselves to the vehicle.

Harin said the protestors were heard chanting "Free Palestine" during the demonstration. A group called Midwest Direct Action claimed responsibility for the protest in a post on Instagram.

The group said in the post that Boeing is complicit in what they called a "g3nocyde" and they wanted to send a strong message to the company that "people will not stand idly by while the atrocities of the so called state of 'Israel' are being committed."

The war in Gaza started after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that killed over 1,000 Israeli civilians. Since then, Israel's military campaign in Gaza has killed over 30,000 people including thousands of civilian women and children.

Boeing, a business known for manufacturing arms and airplanes, was the recipient last year of a 16 year, $1.6 billion contract with the U.S. Air Force to help with the nation's intercontinental missile guidance subsystems at the Heath facility and another facility in Ogden, Utah.

Protestors in Columbus deployed similar tactics in November when dozens of people blocked the entrance to The Ohio State University's administrative offices and disrupted multiple Columbus City Council meetings.

Harin said local prosecutors are still trying to determine charges for the five protestors who were arrested.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.