War on Want at 2015 G4S Shareholders' Meeting

5 June 2015 - 11:15am

War on Want attended the G4S Annual General Meeting and demanded an end to the company’s complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation and the imprisonment and torture of Palestinians, including children.

A lively protest outside the meeting organised by the Stop G4S coalition highlighted the many types of abuses G4S is involved in, from providing equipment and services to the Israeli Prison Service; equipping checkpoints along the illegal Apartheid Wall in the West Bank; and abuses in running detention centres and deportations in the UK. 

Inside, the G4S meeting “descended into chaos.” The floor was dominated by questions pressing the G4S executives to clarify statements made at past shareholders meetings about the details and timeframes of contracts with the Israeli Prison Service, Israeli Police, and Israeli Ministry of Defence. The meeting was also interrupted several times by protestors shouting: “Who supports the siege in Gaza? G4S does!” then dragged out by the legions of security guards on site.

G4S banned their own shareholders from bringing mobile phones and other recording devices in, clearly nervous for their duplicity to be caught on camera. Nonetheless, a video was leaked by London Palestine Action showing protestors being dragged out of the meeting. 

While protests raged at the meeting in London, a group of activists in Manchester occupied the G4S offices there.

G4S in Occupied Palestine

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association in occupied Palestine recently published a new factsheet on G4S complicity in Israel’s use of arrest and detention as a tool of political repression. Israel holds thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in G4S-secured prisons where the use of torture is widespread, not sparing over 180 children who are amongst the political prisoners. Hundreds of the prisoners are held in administrative detention, without charge, on secret evidence and renewable indefinitely.   

Randa Wahbe, Advocacy Officer at Addameer said on the eve of this year’s G4S shareholders’ meeting: 

 “G4S continues to be complicit in the illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, including children, women, Palestinian Legislative Council members and university students. We will continue our campaign against G4S until it ends all of its contracts that support military occupation and all oppression across the world.”

G4S also provides services and equipment for military checkpoints along the path of the illegal Israeli Apartheid Wall. G4S has announced in previous years that it will not renew some of these contracts when they expire by 2017, and reiterated the point this year, but campaigners have noted that G4S has deliberately used vague language to express these commitments, and has refused to detail how many contracts it holds, exactly for what, and exactly when they will expire. These promises are clearly a reflection of the strength of the campaign, and are aimed at pacifying protests against the company. 

The Campaign Continues…and it’s Growing!

The campaign targeting G4S has seen a number of victories since last year’s Annual General Meeting. Around the time of last year’s AGM, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sold down its £110m stake in the company came after worldwide pressure to divest. In the past year since then, universities, charities, and trade unions across the world have cancelled contracts worth millions of pounds with G4S over its role in human rights abuses in Palestine. 

War on Want is committed to keeping the pressure on G4S so long as it is involved in any aspect of the Israeli apartheid regime. Please visit our website for more information and to add your name to the thousands calling on G4S to end its complicity in Israeli Apartheid! 

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