Thanet Star

Protesters occupy Broadstairs factory

Pretesters have climbed on to the roof and blocked the gates of Broadstairs company Instro Precision for the second time this year, claiming the company is a manufacturer of unmanned drones used in Israel's massacre of Gazans in summer 2014. Writes Kathy Bailes for the Thanet Gazette.

The protesters were objecting to Instro Precision Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Israeli arms giant Elbit Systems Ltd, and the part they claim Elbit Systems Ltd have had in the deaths during the assult on Gaza.

The Instro Precision factory which is on the Pysons Road industrial estate in Broadstairs manafactures "target acquisition" equipment which are later fitted to Elbit Systems Ltd's drones.

According to a video release by protesters: The action marked the anniversary of the start of Israel's massacre of Gazans last summer, and Elbit was chosen because it supplies 85% of the Israeli military's drones and deliberately profits from the carnage in Gaza by marketing its products as "battle-tested" (meaning they've been used to kill and maim Palestinians).

The activists also leafletted the area to raise local awareness as they claim (probably with considerable justification) that Thanet people are largely unaware of the connection to the Gaza bombings.

There are also protests against Elbit in both Melbourne, Australia, and in Shenstone, Staffordshire taking place simultaneously, accroding to Maria Chiorando of Kent News.

In Broadstairs the atmosphere was both festive, write the protesters, thanks to the sound system that protesters got inside the perimeter, and poignant, as they took turns to write the names of Gazans murdered by Israel last summer on white ribbons, which were then tied to the factory fence. The company's staff were confronted with this sight on their arrival at work on 7 July, as the ribbons were not cut down overnight.

The company is not known to have made any statement to the press. Thanet Gazette received no answer when they called on them.

The following video was made by the protesters.

What's your take on this? Did you know that Broadstairs had an international connection? How do you feel about that? Let us know in the comments.

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Is it just Airport vs Houses in Manston?

Is our only choice for Manston between a CPO and houses?

On the one hand you have Riveroak who are willing to run Manston as a viable airport and on the other you have a group of companies of questionable ethics, liquidity and viability offering us another out of town private town centre.

I look at the mediocrity that Westwood Cross is and the plans to develop a new town with a private high street. That has hardly been the roaring success that was predicted and what little success it did build was at the cost of Margate high street. Even here we rarely balance the loss of jobs against the gain as usually the person doing the presenting is pushing for or against something.

It's all well and good to say that a new project will produce jobs but the real question we need to start asking is will it produce a net increase in jobs or just move the ones we already have about a bit.

Manston offers us the chance of new business at the cost of overhead noise or the more houses and business buildings at the potential cost of businesses elsewhere nearby and an influx of more people who will be looking for work.

Neither option is perfect, far from it, but one of those options adds a net gain for the cost it brings. Which ever the result is Thanet will have a price to pay.

Perhaps there are other options but if there are I have no idea what they are. Even if some third choice could be found there will still be a price for Thanet to pay. We just have to insist that it is the right price for the right gain.

Value for money, in other words.

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Big Wheel Returns to Margate

A friend snapped this glorious image on the new "big wheel" going up in Dreamland.

Here it is on the first day of construction (Yesterday).

Dreamland Big Wheel

According to the Dreamland website this new Big Wheel will be 35 meters high and very colourful.

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Are Manston owners about to go bankrupt?

Strong doubts have been expressed over the ability of the current owners of Manston Airport to continue due to massive debts.

Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave brought a majority share in Manston from Stage Coach owner Anne Gloag but their company (Wynyard Park Limited), shows debts of over £30m. This debt is for the financial year ending 2014 and auditors have expressed expressed doubts about the groups ability to continue, say the BBC.

A spokesman for the company has claimed that they have since paid off that huge debt and are, all evidence to the contrary, a great success.

This news calls into question the ability of Stagecoach's Ann Gloag and Wynyard Park's duo to afford to build something worthwhile on the airport site.

At the same time one has to wonder how strongly they can actually afford to resist a competent Compulsory Purchase of the site.

Only time will tell.

What do you think will happen?

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Yes, there was an earthquake last night

In case you were not one to jump on Twitter the moment it happened there was an earthquake in Thanet last night.

At this stage details are a big sketchy but it looks like a 4.2 magnitude quake which took place about 12km down and out to sea somewhere.

Did you feel the quake? tell us about it.

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