Raytheon protest went beyond a peaceful protest

A court has heard that a  group of protestors went beyond peaceful protest when they broke into the offices of a weapons software company in Derry.

Nine women and five men aged between 25 and 66 face charges over the incident at the Raytheon plant on the Branch Road in January 2009.

Two of the nine women on trial are from the republic including 35-year-old Sharron Meenan from  Fahan,

All nine women deny a charge of burglary with intent to cause criminal damage.

Opening the case at Belfast Crown Court, prosecuting QC Paul Ramsey said the women chained themselves together.

When inside they chanted against bombing in the Middle East and Gaza.

The court was told that after they were arrested and released, each of the women attended voluntarily to be interviewed by police, adding that during police questioning, all of them admitted to breaking into Raytheon in order to cause damage to the main computer server.

The five men face various charges including causing criminal damage, burglary,  impersonating a police officer and of  obstructing and resisting police.

The trial is expected to last for three weeks.