Palestine Action activists were caught on camera using fire extinguishers to spray red paint over an office in Mayfair, London, with police evacuating nearby buildings after discovering a ‘suspicious package’
This is the moment pro-Palestinian protesters covered a central London building in red paint and then let off smoke grenades in a reckless demonstration.
Police descended on the scene in Curzon Street, Mayfair, within minutes and evacuated nearby buildings after spotting a ‘suspicious package’.
Palestine Action said it targeted the building at around 8.45am on Monday because it is owned by a property company which rents out office space to the Israeli defence firm Elbit Systems.
Shocking footage shows activists pulling fire extinguishers from their bags and spraying the facade of the building with red paint.
Security guards and onlookers then rush over to detain the protesters, who let off smoke grenades and try to escape on foot.
One witness, who was working nearby, told The Mirror: “They didn’t give a f*** who was standing in front of them or if an innocent member of the public got coated as well.
“When a security guard tried to tackle them, they let off a smoke grenade. The street was filled with smoke. It gave me a bit of a fright.
“I went downstairs and saw the paint everywhere and people were running. When I walked outside the police were already there – they got there within minutes.
“There were about eight police cars straight away and armed response vehicles were also there. Police evacuated the nearby buildings as a rucksack was left next to the zebra crossing.
“It was cordoned off for at least an hour but it didn’t turn out to be a suspicious package.”
The witness believes one of the activists was caught, although the other managed to flee – as seen in the CCTV footage, which shows the protester escaping the grip of a construction worker.
He added: “One of the workers from one of the buildings went to get the other one but he didn’t grab him and he did a runner.”
The witness, who is expecting his first child, said he is furious with the activists as they could quite easily have been terrorists.
He added: “These activists are playing about. It is getting stupid, it’s messing about with people’s lives. Why should I be scared to go to work?
“If it was a terrorist that did leave a bomb and people thought it was just protesters then boom everyone is dead.
“What they are doing makes people complacent about things like that happening. People will think ‘it’s only these twits’.”
The witness said he was told the building had been vandalised in the past and images on Google Street View appear to confirm this.
A picture from January this year shows red stains on the facade of One Curzon Street, which houses the offices of LaSalle Investment Management.
LaSalle is an independent subsidiary of the property firm JLL, whose offices have repeatedly been vandalised by Palestine Action due to the firm renting out office space to Elbit Systems.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have previously spray-painted the defence firm’s London headquarters in Kingsway, Holborn.
In a series of tweets posted on Monday, Palestine Action said: “Once again, Palestine Action drench, disrupt and shut down @JLL ‘s office in Mayfair. The rent they collect on 77 Kingsway is paid by Elbit’s blood money, gained from their sales of arms to the world’s most repressive regimes. #EvictElbit#ShutElbitDown.
“Street cordoned off, staff turned away, @JLL ‘s business of bloodshed is shut today. Until JLL make a public declaration to #EvictElbit, there’s more in store for those who profit from war. #ShutElbitDown
“Security for the business of bloodshed try and take down our activists. But we’re making sure the only thing going down is Israel’s arms trade. #EvictElbit#ShutElbitDown.”
Palestine Action said it had also spray-painted JLL offices in Manchester, Bristol and York, with one video showing a masked man hammering away at a glass door at the Manchester office.
A spokesman for the Met Police said: “At approximately 09:10hrs on Monday, 27 September, officers found a suspicious package on Curzon Street, W1.
“Cordons were put in place. The item was examined and found to be non-suspicious.
“Cordons have since been lifted. Officers were at the location following a protest and criminal damage at a business address.”
It is understood no arrests have been made so far.
A spokesman for LaSalle and JLL, said: “We are aware of the incidents that occurred at LaSalle’s office at One Curzon Street in London and JLL’s office at 257 Deansgate in Manchester on 27 September and a further incident at JLL’s Bristol office at 31 Great George Street on 28 September.
“These incidents have been referred to the police and we cannot comment any further.”