Palestine solidarity campaigners have slammed two north-western local authorities for using security firm G4S despite its work in Israel.
Both Liverpool and Manchester councils use the disgraced security firm, which supplies equipment and services to Israeli prisons where Palestinian inmates, including children, have reportedly been tortured.
In Liverpool leading cultural figures signed an open letter calling on the council to ditch G4S.
A similar call has been made to Manchester Council by organisers of a daily picket of Kedem, a city-centre shop selling cosmetics using minerals from the Dead Sea in Palestine.
The calls came as Israel continued its merciless attack on Gaza, where the death toll has now passed 1,800.
Signatories of the Liverpool letter include Jimmy McGovern, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Alexei Sayle. It criticised the hiring of G4S for the city’s Giants festival and forthcoming International Music Festival.
The letter accused G4S of being complicit with war crimes carried out by Israel and said that the council’s action “makes us complicit too.”
It reads: “We are writing as artists, writers, actors and musicians who have been involved in the artistic life of the city for many years. The G4S staff marshalling the Giants brought into sharp focus the contrast between the joy of the event and the current misery and carnage in Palestine. We call upon you to cancel any current and future contracts with the company.
“We are aware G4S holds contracts all over the world, but Liverpool people have never been for going along with the status quo when we feel it is morally wrong to do so.”
In Manchester, John Nicholson of the city’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign accused the city council of “giving money to G4S while Gaza burns.”
He also accused the council of supporting city-centre business Kedem, which is being picketed daily.
Mr Nicholson said the town hall had accused protesters of being “anti-Semitic.”
“These councillors have heard us repeatedly say we are not anti-Jewish and heard the demonstrations saying nothing anti-Jewish and seen that there are so many Jewish people on the demonstrations,” he said.
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