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Protestors invade Manston airport control tower in campaign against expansion of Instro Precision arms company

Activists have stormed an airport site and taken over the control tower to protest against the proposed expansion of an arms company.

Peace campaigners are occupying the top floor of the Second World War tower at Manston airport to rally against a planning application submitted by Instro Precision.

The group invaded the building - which is rented by the firm - at 11am today, and draped banners highlighting their opposition to the plans.

Protestors have occupied the control tower at the Manston airport site. Library image.
Protestors have occupied the control tower at the Manston airport site. Library image.

It comes as Thanet councillors prepare to vote on the bid at a planning committee meeting this evening.

Campaigners say Instro Precision is owned by Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems, which supplies arms to Saudi Arabia and Turkey - both known to have provided support to ISIS.

Instro’s facilities at its main site in nearby Broadstairs were occupied and shut down on two separate occasions in February and July this year, when activists highlighted Elbit’s role in supplying Israeli forces with the kind of drones used to massacre Gazans in 2014.

Bob Foy, from Block the Factory Kent, said: "Activists have occupied the top floor of the control tower today because it is rented by Instro Precision, whose parent company not only makes drones used by Israel to oppress Palestinians, but it also sells to the regimes in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both known to have supported ISIS either financially or militarily.

Manston airport when it was open. Picture: Simon Burchett
Manston airport when it was open. Picture: Simon Burchett

"We believe that a company with so many question marks hanging over the legality and morality of its activities should not be allowed to expand, and we want to see it out of Kent and out of business. This company literally profits from the maiming and killing of civilians.

"Local people are disgusted by the presence of this company in our peaceful Kent community, and we call on Thanet’s decision-makers to block Instro’s ambition to expand its lethal activities.

"We and other protestors will continue to target Instro, including at Manston airport, if necessary."

It is not known how long the protestors plan to stage their demonstration at the airport for.


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