Shareholders meeting of Israeli prison contractor G4S targeted
Palestine solidarity activists joined anti-deportation and anti-austerity groups for a noisy demonstration outside the annual meeting of private security company G4S in London yesterday.
Chanting by the more than 70 campaigners present could be heard inside the meeting, while shareholders were handed an alternative annual report that looked like an official G4S publication but profiled the company’s human rights abuses in Palestine and the UK.
Palestinain organisations have called for action against G4S over its contract with the Israeli Prison Service to supply security equipment to Israeli prisons at which Palestinian political prisoners are held. Banners and placards at the demonstration displayed solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners and those that remain on hunger strike. G4S also provides equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints, settlements and the apartheid wall.
In the UK, G4S has come under intense scrutiny after 773 complaints of abuse were made in relation to deportation services it was providing for the UK government and Angolan migrant Jimmy Mubenga died after being ‘restrained’ by G4S guards while being deported. Yet G4S continues to be awarded huge contracts to run privatised prisons, policing and welfare services and will provide security to the Olympics. G4S has hired former senior politicians to senior positions.
The demonstration was partly organised from Palestine Place and many Palestine Place participants took part in the demonstration.
The demonstration was supported by more than 18 organisations, 7 of which work on Palestine as their central focus (full list here). With G4S’ record of abuse as horrendus as it is, and given the rate at which it is being allowed to take over public services, campaigners believe that a broad campaign against the company is both possible and necessary.
Major media outlets including the Guardian, Independent and OpenDemocracy covered the demonstration. But perhaps the most exciting media event was the subvertising spotted in King’s Cross, outside one of London’s major transport hubs: