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Campaigners protest outside arms company Instro Precision at the Discovery Park in Sandwich over links to Israeli military


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Campaigners staging a vigil outside the factory of an arms company have read the names of nearly 300 people killed during unrest in the Middle East.

The protestors were targeting Instro Precision, which has a base at the Discovery Park in Sandwich, because of its role in supplying military hardware to Israel.

Campaigners tied ribbons outside Discovery Park in Sandwich
Campaigners tied ribbons outside Discovery Park in Sandwich

Prior to the lunchtime vigil at the business park, a gathering of opponents of the arms trade took place in the town centre.

Ribbons were tied to fencing outside the Discovery Park’s building, each bearing the name and age of one of those killed in last month's violence involving Palestinian fighters and the Israeli military.

Instro Precision is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company.

Elbit is involved in the production of high-spec equipment including aerial drones, armed ground robots and smart helmets.

Sandwich resident Sally Roberts, 59, said: "It's appalling that this factory is on my doorstep enabling the Israeli government to target Palestinians at their most vulnerable. It's genocide, there is no other name for it.

Dozens turned out in Sandwich town centre to hear speeches and music
Dozens turned out in Sandwich town centre to hear speeches and music
Campaigner Hugh Lanning speaks at the rally in Sandwich town centre. Picture: Cara MacNally
Campaigner Hugh Lanning speaks at the rally in Sandwich town centre. Picture: Cara MacNally

"Get Instro Precision out of my peaceful town. The landlords of Discovery Park should hang their heads in shame because they knew Instro was a part of the arms giant Elbit."

Groups including SE Kent Trades Council, Kent Anti-Racism Network, East Kent Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Ashford Greens and SE Kent Palestine Solidarity Campaign took part in today's events.

In the town centre, campaigners leafleted local people to raise awareness of their cause.

A 500-signature petition was handed in by local people in December 2016 asking Discovery Park not to allow Instro to build its factory on the site. Campaigners say the business park never responded to petitioners, and the factory was built.

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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