Musicians condemn Liverpool council’s G4S link, citing abuse against Palestinians

Liverpool Palestine campaigners hand over open letter against G4S to city council

Campaigners submit a letter against G4S to the city council.

Liverpool Friends of Palestine

Legendary Liverpool guitarist and songwriter Pete Wylie has pulled out of the city’s International Music Festival over the council’s use of G4S security services, according to a statement published by local website on Saturday.

Wylie’s announcement cites allegations of human rights abuses against G4S, the British-Danish firm which provides security services to checkpoints, prisons and interrogation centers in Israel — including those in which Palestinian children have been held in solitary confinement.

The company has suffered a number of divestments and contract cancelations as a result of campaigns over its operations for the Israeli government. G4S stated in July 2014 that it would end its Israeli contracts in 2017, but campaigners have noted “that G4S has made misleading statements in the past.”

“I cannot condone or work with a council that sees fit to engage with G4S,” Wylie said in the statement. He also condemned Liverpool city council’s withdrawal of local services and listed this as a second reason for declining to perform.

Open letter condemns G4S

Wylie’s move follows a wider campaign by local Palestine solidarity groups which has seen Liverpudlian writers, actors, musicians and other artists sign up to an open letter to the city council, criticizing its contracts with G4S.

Signatories to the letter — which refers to the “appalling misery and carnage in Palestine” — include authors Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Gibbons and Jimmy McGovern and actor and comedian and Alexei Sayle, alongside several dozen other artists.

According to a Liverpool Friends of Palestine press release, which includes the full text of the letter, “G4S is complicit with the war crimes being carried out by the Israeli government. When you sign contracts, paid for by Council Tax payers in this city, you make us complicit too.”

The letter also cites a range of other allegations against G4S in the UK, Iraq, South Africa and other countries, including corruption and manslaughter charges against the company’s staff.




Disappointed that other musicians have failed to follow Pete Wylie's stance regarding the use of G4S by Liverpool City Council. Great opportunity being missed. At optimistic moments I imagine that something will be pulled out of the bag by way of protest... I wait in anticipation.

Sarah Irving

Sarah Irving's picture

Sarah is a freelance writer and editor, author of a biography of Leila Khaled and of the Bradt Guide to Palestine, co-editor of A Bird is Not a Stone (a volume of Palestinian poetry translated into the languages of Scotland), and a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked and traveled in Palestine since 2001.