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In what must have been an embarrassing security breach for the world’s biggest security company two activists scaled the roof of their UK HQ in Crawley on Monday the 2nd.
The two used ladders to access a fire escape and scaled the roof at 6a.m, hanging banners, as a group of around a dozen supported them on the ground. They swiftly secured themselves in position with D-locks. One banner read “G4S – Profiting from: Israeli Apartheid, Prison Slavery, Deadly Deportations”. They were arrested as they voluntarily descended and held in Crawley police station.
The anti-G4S group issued a statement in protest at the security multinational’s “illegal and immoral activities” in both the UK and Palestine/Israel. G4S provides equipment to prisons inside Israel to which Palestinian political prisoners from occupied territory are transferred in violation of the Geneva Conventions, tortured and subjected to arbitrary detention.
In the UK, G4S runs six private prisons at which 400 prisoners are forced to work 40 hours a week for as little as £2 a day. The company also runs three immigration detention centres, where detainees have made repeated claims of abuse and assault. Last year the company lost a multi-million contract with the UK Border Agency to deport refused migrants after 773 complaints of abuse were made against it and following the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker who died as a result of G4S security guards applying illegal restraint techniques.
Despite all this, G4S is being awarded a wide range of public service contracts, from taking over police forces and providing controversial workfare schemes and asylum accommodation on behalf of the government to providing all security at the London Olympics. Today’s protest is the latest in a new, international
campaign against the controversial company. On 7th June, more than 70 people demonstrated outside the G4S Annual General Meeting and handed shareholders an “Alternative Annual Report” detailing the company’s alleged violations of human rights and international law. One of the rooftop protesters, Tom Hayes from the Boycott Israel Network, said: “UK businesses should not be profiting from the detention and mistreatment of children.” “Brutal systems of discrimination such as Israeli Apartheid are maintained because companies like G4S are willing to do business with them, in total disregard of the human consequences and of international law. G4S is an example of a business that cynically views the practices of such regimes as good for business.”
“Action much be taken to prevent corporate complicity with Israeli violations of international law.”
The other protester, Sean Flint from No Borders UK, said: “I wonder how many Jimmy Mubengas it will take to realise that companies like G4S don’t care about people placed in their care, but are only concerned with maximising their profits, no matter what the human cost. Awarding control of the police, justice and prison systems to a company with such a blatant disregard for basic human rights, as the government has shown its willingness to do, is truly frightening.”
Activists will picket the 12 July meeting of the West Midlands Police Authority. G4S is bidding for a £1.5bn contract to run Police services in the West Midlands and Surrey.
For more on G4S http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4343
More updates from Calais No Borders Network
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Following evidence of cruelty against migrants submitted by solidarity activists, French police are under scrutiny from Defender of Rights.