Massive public response to government crackdown on BDS

22 February 2016 - 8:00am
Press release

Over 26,000 people have responded to a government consultation, rejecting plans to block local councils from deciding how to invest their members' pension funds. 

Under the proposals, announced in November 2015, central government will have the power to veto investment decisions made locally on ethical grounds concerning human rights, arms trade, fossil fuels and much else.

The consultation closed on 19 February and comes amid massive public outrage concerning the government’s sustained attempts to shut down democratic space. War on Want, in response, launched the campaign to ‘Protect Local Democracy’ alongside coalition of groups representing campaigns for justice in Palestine, fossil fuel divestment, anti-militarism and more.

Ryvka Barnard, Senior Militarism and Security Campaigner War on Want, said:

The government’s assault on our democratic rights and freedoms, is a clear attempt to clamp down on the growing power of the grassroots boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement which aims to end government and corporate complicity with Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

“The government’s plan to block local councils from deciding how to invest their members' pension funds is a very serious threat and completely anti-democratic. The campaign to protect local democracy has only just begun.”

Newcastle City Council passed a unanimous resolution promising to fight the government plan, while MPs, councillors, trade union leaders, and a number of high profile artists and public figures signed an open letter in opposition.

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