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 Sevenstreets.com 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.