Anti-Israel demo closes Kent drone factory


Anti-Israel protesters have caused the temporary closure of a factory owned by a subsidiary of Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems.

A group of 14 activists from anti-arms and pro-Palestinian organisations, including Brighton BDS and Swansea Action for Palestine, stopped production at the Kent factory of Instro Precision on Tuesday.

Camera systems similar to those made by Instro Precision are used in Israeli drones supplied by Elbit to survey the West Bank security fence.

The sit-in came two weeks after prosecutors were forced to drop a case against protesters who, last August, occupied another Elbit subsidiary. The Crown Prosecution Service ended their case after the drone engine manufacturers’ witnesses pulled out.

Four activists made it onto the roof of Instro Precision’s building and hung banners reading ‘Elbit Drones Murder!’ and 'Stop Arming Israel!' while one of the 10 remaining on the ground locked themselves to the company’s fence.

Kent Police confirmed that no arrests were made, and that the protest, which started at 5am, ended peacefully in the evening.

One of the activists, Tom Anderson, said: “We are here because we want to stop Elbit from supplying weapons which are used to massacre people in Gaza and Afghanistan.

“In 2013 I visited Gaza and spoke to the survivors of Israeli drone strikes. They told me that they wanted people to take action to prevent the companies that manufactured the drones that killed their loved ones from making equipment that will cause others to suffer the way they have.”

Both Elbit Systems and Instro Precision refused to comment on the protest.

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