New Yorkers protested on Friday, 27 May outside the offices of British-Danish security corporation G4S, calling for the company to get out of occupied Palestine and for freedom for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Part of the weekly protests organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Friday’s protest came one day after London activists picketed G4S’ annual general meeting in the British city.
G4S, the world’s second largest private employer, provides security systems, control rooms and equipment to Israeli prisons and interrogation centers where Palestinian prisoners – including children – are held and tortured. It also provides services and equipment to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, police training centers, and the Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing with Gaza, where the siege on Gaza is implemented. Hundreds of Palestinian and international organizations – and Palestinian political prisoners – have urged an international boycott of the corporation. G4S has lost contracts in Colombia, in Jordan, in Europe and with UN agencies following the boycott campaign; in addition, G4S is also targeted for boycott for its role in the imprisonment of children and migrants in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere. G4S has pledged to sell off these “damaging” businesses – including the entire G4S Israel subsidiary – but continues to profit from the imprisonment of Palestinians and the migrant and youth detention systems internationally.
Laura Whitehorn, former US political prisoner and a member of the Labor, Academic and Anti-Prison delegation to Palestine, participated in the demonstration; two medical students visiting New York from Nablus for a month-long training program also joined in.
Protesters highlighted the cases of several Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, including Adib Mafarjah and Montasser Eid, both refusing food to protest their “administrative detention” – imprisonment without charge or trial. Mafarjah and Eid are among nearly 750 Palestinians currently held in Israeli prisons without charge or trial, and 7,000 total Palestinian prisoners.
Samidoun will return to G4S’ New York offices next Friday, 3 June, for a protest focusing on the attacks and arrests on Palestinian fishers off the coast of Gaza.
Photos by Joe Catron