On 27 September, Inminds organized a protest outside the Labour Party Convention in Brighton, UK, condemning the Labour Party for hiring G4S for convention security. G4S is the British-Danish multinational security corporation subject to a global boycott campaign for its complicity and involvement in Israeli human rights abuses, especially against Palestinian prisoners. G4S provides security systems and control rooms for the Israeli prisons which imprison Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners. For the full report, including extensive photos and videos, please visit Inminds: http://inminds.com/article.php?id=10687
Text and photos below from Inminds:
Protest organised by Inminds outside the Labour Party Conference in Brighton at lunch time on 27th September 2015 – the opening day of the conference – demanded the Labour Party end its contracts with the British security company G4S which is complicit in Israel’s torture of Palestinian child prisoners. Activists demanded in particular that Labour stop using G4S to provide the security for the Labour conference every year and for Labour councils to stop investing tens of millions of pounds in G4S via their pension funds.
Since 2007 G4S has been contracted by the Israeli prison service to secure many of its prisons and interrogation centres where Palestinian political prisoners including women and children and caged and tortured. 61% of all Palestinian political prisoners are caged in G4S secured prisons, this includes 98% of all administrative detainees (those held indefinitely without charge or trial). All women prisoners and all the children are also caged and tortured in G4S secured Israeli prisons.
In June 2015, Palestinian lawyer Hiba Masalha visiting abducted Palestinian children from an orphanage in Tulkarem, being caged in Israel’s notorious G4S secured dungeon at Megiddo, reported that the children had been beaten and tortured in a “heinous” way by Israeli soldiers during interrogation. The children had been “terrified, threatened and blackmailed” in contravention of international law and conventions advocating children’s rights.
Schoolboy Mahir Hussein, told Masalha that Israeli soldiers had fired gunshots into the air to threaten him and two other teenagers when they were detained. Israeli soldiers threatened to kill him before two soldiers beat him “violently.”He was left bleeding for six hours with hands and feet cuffed. The boy was afterwards moved to a hospital in a military base in Petah Tiqva where doctors required “24 stitches” to seal the wound on his head. The next day he was taken to al-Jalame interrogation center for a period of 20 days during which he was beaten and mostly confined to a wooden chair with his hands and feet cuffed. G4S provides the entire security system for Al Jalame, its infamous for its torture of children and its tiny ‘hole in the ground’ children’s cells three floors below the surface.
The Labour Party has been lobbied for several years over its contracts with G4S and last September there were protests outside its conference in Manchester. Its own senior MPs including past and current leaders and shadow cabinet members, and leading trade unionists have all criticised the contracts, and yet nothing has been done and and again this year the Labour Party is giving money to G4S to secure the party conference.
With recent changes in the leadership and membership of the party we are confident that given encouragement (and a push) the party could finally end its shameful partnership with G4S.
We had half a dozen Palestinian flags flying including a couple of giant Palestinian flags hoisted up a 9m flag pole which was visible all the way along the beach. We had Palestinian music playing through the PA system, and set up a table for our leaflets on G4S and other aspects of the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom, and a petition from our friends in BHPSC asking the Labour Party to end contracts with G4S.
Messages were read out from the parents of two children who were tortured at Israel’s G4S secured Al-Jalame interrogation centre and who are currently caged at Israel’s G4S secured Megiddo prison, and also a message from the father of a 15 years old schoolboy who was abducted and caged at Israel’s G4S secured Ofer prison on the West Bank. The messages received very warm applauses and people can up to us afterwards to give their personal condolence of what had happened to the children and their families. Some insisted on giving money even though we explained that we weren’t set up to collect donations during protests – that money we passed on to MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians).
A 2m banner was placed at the G4S guarded entrance of the conference so that every delegate going through the G4S checkpoint to enter the Labour Conference was reminded of G4S’s complicity in Israel’s torture to death of Palestinian father Arafat Jaradat.
The primary purpose of the protest was to educate Labour delegates of the suffering of ordinary Palestinians, including children as young as 12 years old, being abducted, tortured and caged by Israeli occupation forces and the complicity of a British company – G4S in these crimes.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’ – we wanted to show the delegates that it was within their grasp to help bend that arc towards justice by asking their party to end its contracts with G4S. The response from delegates was one of overwhelming support. Unionists, councillors, MEPs, MPs all stopped by to show their support and we are confident that changes will happen.