A group of about 50 people blocked the entrances to an office complex in St. Paul on Monday, in protest of a defense company’s role in the Israel-Hamas war.
The group blocked vehicles from accessing the complex along Energy Park Drive, just east of Highway 280, that houses ForwardEdge ASIC, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin that works with microelectronics design.
Andrew Josefchak is a member of the Minnesota Anti-War Committee who was at Monday’s protest, arriving just before 6 a.m.
Josefchak said Lockheed provides weapons being used by Israel to bomb Gaza.
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“We don’t support weapons manufacturers in general, and we want Lockheed out of our city,” he said. “But the reason why I’m here today specifically is because Lockheed’s bombs and jets are being used to massacre civilians.”
The office complex also houses other businesses, and Josefchak said those businesses should “tell your landlord that if they don’t want people out here, protesting and shutting the place down, they should get Lockheed out of here.”
In a statement in response to Monday’s protest, a ForwardEdge spokesperson said the company respects “the right to peaceful protest, and we are honored to deliver innovative microelectronic solutions for our commercial, healthcare, defense and security customers.”
ForwardEdge ASIC announced earlier this year it was expanding its operations in St. Paul, planning a $60 million investment to create at least 100 jobs. That expansion was supported by more than $1 million in state funding, and was lauded at the time by Gov. Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.