Police in Merrimack, New Hampshire, made three arrests on Monday in connection to the vandalizing of a U.S office belonging to the Israeli defense company Elbit Systems. Ex-Disney actress, Bridget Irene Shergalis, 27, along with co-defendants Massachusetts residents Sophie Marika Ross, 22, and Calla Mairead Walsh, 19, face charges related to riot, sabotage, criminal mischief, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct.
The trio were part of a demonstration organized by anti-Israel activists group, Palestine Action US. Upon arriving to the scene, police found the building with the front side sprayed with red paint, windows smashed, and a door locked with a bicycle lock. Emergency personnel from the Merrimack Fire Department responded to the incident and officials found more damages to the building such as spraypainting, destroyed skylights, and damaged HVAC equipment. Upon getting into the roof, the three suspects were found and later arrested.
“This is outright violence. It’s criminality. It is malicious targeting of property and of people,” said Jonah Steinberg from the Anti-Defamation League New England regional director. Steinberg continued, “In this time of Hamas terrorism against Israel, it is extremely concerning if Hamas is setting the example for people who consider themselves activists on this side of the sea.”
Former Disney actress Shergalis is known for her roles in “So Random” and “Liv and Maddie” as well as guest appearances in “Dog With A Blog” and “Shake it Up.” After her bail was set at $20,000, Walsh, another of the defendants, voiced her opposition to the charges by describing it as “an extreme level of political repression from the state.”
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Republican strategist Garrett Ventry said the incident “ shows just a lack of understanding of history and morals.” Elbit Systems released a public statement saying, “We support the rights of protesters to peacefully express their views. However, what we experienced today was violent criminal behavior as evidenced by the arrests made by local law enforcement.”
The incident stirred debates with opinions largely divided. While some may agree with the accused’s actions and motivations, it is clear that vandalizing property is not the right method of getting the message across. The judicial system will now have to decision on the outcomes of the accused.