Palestine campaigners will picket G4S in Bristol

Palestine campaigners in Bristol will join a UK-wide protest against Security company, G4S, for their support for Israeli prisons and interrogation centres. They are protesting the recent death in custody of a Palestinian prisoner, the abuse and torture of children in Israeli custody, and in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger-strikers.

{jcomments on}The protest will take place on Friday 1st March 2013 from 1.00 – 3.00pm outside the G4S “Cash Solutions” depot 165-175 South Liberty Lane , Bristol BS3 2TWProtesters will be leafleting and chanting slogans over a megaphone, waving placards and unfurling a giant banner condemning G4S.

G4S is the world’s largest security firm, with almost 700,000 employees, and their headquarters in the UK . It provides security at Israeli prisons including Megiddo Prison and al-Jalame interrogation centre. At Megiddo the whole central command room is provided by G4S. G4S also provides services and equipment to the illegal Israeli settlements, checkpoints and the apartheid Wall.

Arafat Jaradat, 30 yr old Palestinian father of 2 children aged 4 and 2 yrs old, married with a pregnant wife, was arrested on suspicion of throwing a stone. 5 days later, last Saturday 23rd Feb 2013, he died in Megiddo Prison following interrogation in al-Jalame interrogation centre. Post-mortem revealed clear evidence of beatings


Al-Jalame interrogation centre in northern Israel contains the infamous Cell 36 where Defence for Children International reported children are locked in small filthy cells in solitary confinement, some for 65 days, with their only escape being the interrogation room where they are shackled by their hands and feet to a chair whilst being abused, sometimes for hours.

Five Palestinians who were released in the 2012 prisoner exchange have been re-arrested and are being held in Israeli jails in “administrative detention”. They are currently on hunger-strike, some more than 200 days (the longest hunger strikes in history) and are close to death. Israel is in breach of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which says that no person should be “subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention”. UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk has said recently “ Israel must end the appalling and unlawful treatment of Palestinian detainees. If Israeli officials cannot present evidence to support charges, then they must be released immediately”.

Palestine campaigners have conducted a number of solidarity events for Palestinian prisoners this year including day long fasts, street stalls, a march, and protests outside the BBC against biased reporting.

Ed Hill, vice chair of Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign says “People will be shocked to hear of the appalling cruelty meted out to Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Brutality to children, some of it amounting to torture; imprisonment without trial; and now this young man who appears to have been beaten to death. G4S is supplying security services to these Israeli prisons and interrogation centres. It’s truly disgusting that British firms are making a profit from this appalling injustice”.

Bristol has a long history of links with Palestine . From peace campaigners to faith groups, from football teams to circus performers to Banksy, many Bristolians have visited Palestine . Following the attacks on Gaza in winter 2008/9 a group Bristol-Gaza-Link was formed, with all party support from the City Council. It organised several aid convoys to Gaza including an ambulance and a giant articulated truck decorated with images of Wallace and Grommit. In May 2010, two Bristol citizens were within inches of death on-board the aid ship, Mavi Marmara, when it was attacked by Israeli commandos. Bristol was also the first local council in the country passing a motion condemning these attacks and calling for boycott and divestment of Israel . Following a student occupation in 2009, UWE now has a “Conflict Zone Bursary” which has already funded one student from Gaza . Local campaigners build awareness of Palestine issues through meetings, boycott actions, and cultural events. Bristol also hosts a Palestine Film Festival at the Watershed every year.

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