Anti-Israel Activists Force Shutdown of Israeli Arms Factory in the UK
Anti-Israel activists forced the shutdown of an Israeli-owned arms factory in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, claiming the company helped build drones used in Israel’s recent war against Hamas terrorists aimed at halting rocket fire from Gaza, the International Business Times reported.
Several anti-Israel demonstrators climbed the roof of the Instro Precision building in Broadstairs, Kent and hung banners declaring “Stop Elbit” and “Elbit Drones Murder!” referring to Instro’s owner Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest defense company.
Palestinian flags were also held up, as well as a sign that read “Stop arming Israel.” Among the demonstrators on the ground was one chained to the factory’s fence, IBT noted.
The factory, which employs around 70 people, has been closed since the protest started early Tuesday morning, IBT said.
A local police spokesman said, “Kent Police is currently monitoring a reported protest taking place at the Pysons Road Industrial Estate in Broadstairs,” according to Kent Online. “As with all such events, the primary role of Kent Police is to facilitate peaceful protest, which is lawful, whilst also ensuring public safety and minimizing any disruption. Resources will be deployed as necessary and appropriate.”
Instro’s website describes the company as “one of the leading suppliers and system integrators of support equipment for military and commercial electro-optical sensors in the world today.”
“Instro products have been proven in forward observation, surveillance and reconnaissance missions by the military, paramilitary and civilian customers of more than 50 countries,” it says.
Research group Corporate Watch claims that 85 percent of drones used by the Israeli military are manufactured by Elbit, IBT reported.
The Israeli-owned arms factory in Kent is the second Elbit-linked company targeted by anti-Israel activists in the UK. Demonstrators successfully occupied a drone engine factory near Birmingham last summer, according to Middle East Monitor. Prosecution against the protesters was dropped at the last minute when Elbit declined to give evidence about its weapons exports to Israel.