Kent-based Israeli-owned Instro Precision was occupied for a third time on Wednesday by protesters – and then saw its expansion plans thwarted that evening by Thanet councillors.
Instro rents the top floor of the control tower at the former Manston Airport site, the target this week of activists who scaled the fence and then dropped a huge banner from the roof.
Instro is owned by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest drone-maker. The protesters said there is a very high chance that Elbit’s technology was used in the assault on Gaza in summer 2014 that killed thousands of people.
The group, calling itself Block the Factory Kent, said Elbit also supplies Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both known to have provided support to ISIS.
As well as the rooftop protest, two demonstrators locked themselves to the gate by the neck.
Later on Wednesday, Instro’s bid to move its whole operation from its current Broadstairs location to Manston Airport was voted down by Thanet councillors, some of whom mentioned the repeated occupations by activists as a potential “security risk” if the company were allowed to move there.
Instro will now have to either appeal the planning committee’s decision or seek a new site elsewhere.