G4S office building occupied in Manchester
Campaigners protest against human rights abuses
Human rights activists occupied the offices of G4S in Manchester yesterday to coincide with the company's Annual General Meeting, which was held in London.
The group were protesting against G4S's involvement in the Israeli prison system, the unlawful killing of asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga by G4S guards, and what they say is the company's atrocious human rights record around the world.
Protesters outside G4S offices Manchester
The protest happened in the foyer of 1 Portland Place, where G4S Policing Solutions has offices on the third floor. Outside a piece of street theatre involving a prisoner in a cage and G4S guards highlighted the humiliating and degrading experience of incarceration.
Workers were not prevented from entering or leaving the building. Ironically, G4S security guards did not make an appearance.
G4S's Israeli subsidiary plays an instrumental role in the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), providing services and facilities to prisons in Israel including Ketziot, Damon and Meggido, which, according to Israeli human rights organisation Who Profits, are designated for Palestinian political prisoners.
It has installed and operates a central command room in Ofer Prison in illegally-occupied Palestinian territory. It has also supplied luggage scanning equipment and full body scanners for checkpoints inside the West Bank, including along the 'Separation Wall'.
Human rights organisations have documented extensive abusive practices carried out by the IPS, including:
- Indefinite “administrative detention” without charge
- Imprisonment of children
- Torture and inhumane treatment
- Incarceration of political prisoners
Israel also regularly deports prisoners from occupied Palestinian territory to inside the 1948 borders of Israel, in direct contravention of international law.
The Palestinian prisoner's association Hussam has called for the prosecution of G4S and for officers of the company to be put on trial for the company's involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Police Community Support Officers who attempted to stop the protest were advised to “Go upstairs and arrest the real criminals – G4S".
A protester told Ethical Consumer: “G4S has won numerous contracts in Manchester – unbelievably they even provide services to vulnerable people. Given the company's involvement in human rights abuses, their extensive presence in the city is just offensive.”
On the same day the company's AGM in London was reported to have “descended into chaos for the second year running” as protesters objected to the company's operations in Israel.