Scotland: Protests besiege Cameron at 'apolitical' games

Monday, July 28, 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron may want a politics-free Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but campaigners have railed against sponsors’ links to deaths and human rights abuses at home and abroad.

The Tory PM told business leaders on a jaunt to Glasgow University on July 23 that he wanted to steer clear of politics as the clock wound down to the games opening ceremony. A crowd of protesters thronged outside the university library where he spoke, with picketers ranging from the Radical Independence Coalition to Our People’s National Health Service.

Human rights campaigners voiced anger at the continued involvement of security contractors Selex ES and G4S in the games even as their contracts abroad underpin the escalating Israeli assault on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Selex, the Games’ “official protective perimeter security provider”, supplies radar for the armed drones used by the Israeli military to lead bombing operations.

G4S holds lucrative contracts in Israel’s Ktziot, Megido and Damon prisons, institutions set aside for Palestinian political prisoners tried without due process in Israeli military courts.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Mick Napier said footballer and former political prisoner Mahmoud Sarsak had said it best on a visit to Scotland last year: “He said the only company that he had for long periods was a camera up on the wall with a G4S logo on it.”

“It’s a scandal and we will be trying to publicise the issue through the Games,” he said.

Neither Selex nor games organisers responded to requests for comment.

A G4S spokesperson declined to comment on its operations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, referring instead to an “independent” review paid for by the firm which insisted private corporations could not be held responsible for breaches of international law.

[Abridged from Morning Star Online.]

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From GLW issue 1018