Palestina Email Alert
19.00 GMT 19 February 2009
GALLOWAY CONDEMNS LANCASHIRE POLICE ACTION OVER GAZA AID CONVOY.
CONCERN OVER DAMAGE TO COMMUNITY RELATIONS
MP, the leader of the 110 vehicle British aid convoy currently in
Morroco and bound for Gaza, this afternoon spoke of his anger at
the high profile Lancashire Constabulary police action which led
to the arrest of nine innocent men who were bound to join the Viva
Palestina convoy last Friday.
Six of the
nine were released without charge some days ago and are now heading
for Tunis in three vehicles laden with humanitarian supplies for
the people of Gaza.
But three more
were detained in custody for almost a week before being released
without charge this afternoon.
condemned the timing of the arrests, the arrests themselves and
the deliberate efforts of the police to create a story in the press
the purposes of which appears to have been to discredit the aid
convoy to Gaza. Viva Palestina reports that there was a drop of
80% in donations following the broadcast of the arrests and the
police allegations on the BBC on Saturday afternoon.
innocent people were prevented by the police from joining our convoy
with vital aid to meet the humanitarian crisis in Gaza," said
George Galloway this afternoon.
up action by the police, which has apparently included the strip-searching
of an Imam and his wife in their own home in Blackburn, has gravely
damaged their relations with the community whose trust they need
with any sense can see that it is in everyone's interest to encourage
Britain's Muslim community to engage themselves in democratic politics.
That is precisely what this convoy - and the huge political, and
humanitarian effort throughout Britain's often alienated Muslim
communities which lies behind it - is about.
innocent men in such a provocative and hyped operation will achieve
precisely the opposite of that engagement. The timing of the operation
is seen locally as an attempt to smear and intimidate the Muslim
community and I must say they seem to be right.
were clearly deliberately timed for the eve of the departure of
the convoy. Photographs of the high-profile snatch on the M65 were
immediately fed to the press to maximise the newsworthiness of the
smear that was being perpetrated on the convoy" said Galloway.
writing to the Chief Constable of Lancashire to demand an explanation
and will consult Viva Palestina's lawyers with a view to seeking
compensation for the real financial and public relations damage
we have suffered as a result. I will also be writing to the Home
Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to demand action against those who seem
to have abused their power and authority as a police officers to
produce this really damaging outcome."
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