Published: 12:03, 14 August 2016
Activists have threatened they will hold Discovery Park accountable if arms company Instro Precision moves to the Sandwich business hub.
Protesters shut down the firm’s Broadstairs base for the third time in 18 months on Monday as people gathered to demonstrate against its planned expansion.
Before demonstrators arrived, they leafleted Sandwich, informing townsfolk and visitors of Instro’s plans to move to the former Pfizer site.
Instro specialises in military equipment and brands itself as the “first call in supplying the world’s militaries, enforcement agencies and industry with electro-optic surveillance and tactical support equipment.”
Protesters have targeted the firm’s base in Broadstairs because of its alleged links to the Israeli military, although this has not been confirmed.
Arriving on bicycles, the visit to Sandwich was part of a 150km three-day campaigning tour of Kent’s weapons manufacturers, labelled Bikes Against the Bombs, organised by East Kent Campaign Against Arms Trade.
Sandwich residents signed postcards urging Discovery Park’s CEO, Chris Musgrave, to refuse the firm a new larger home there.
Roberta O’Hare, Campaign Against Arms Trade’s east Kent spokesman, said: “People turned out in force in Broadstairs because this is an export industry that shames the town and is a stain on Kent.
“When we told people in Sandwich that Instro Precision plans to move there they were shocked and eager to sign up to urge Discovery Park not to host this murderous business.
“Instro and Elbit literally profit from civilian populations being torn limb from limb, and increasingly people here are saying ‘not in our towns’.
“As a community we are sending a strong message to Discovery Park that if it gives Instro a new home, it too will be held accountable and will be seen as complicit in this cynical, disgusting industry.”
Dover District Council granted permission in May for Instro’s new manufacturing plant at the Sandwich site. It is set to open by January 2017.
Ms O’Hare added: “We will be back in Sandwich soon to mobilise more people than we were able to reach on our quick cycle tour stop in the town.”
Both Discovery Park and Instro have not commented.
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