Diego Garcians demand rights
DIEGO GARCIAN islanders and their supporters were set to lobby Downing Street on Wednesday of this week.
The British government removed them from their island in the 1960s to make way for a US military base. Some have come to England in the last few years.
Community leader Allen Vincatassin told Socialist Worker, “We are protesting because the prime minister is refusing to remove the residency test on us. This means that we are considered ‘non-habitual residents’ and not entitled to any benefits and support.
“This makes it difficult for us to get housing. We are a poor community because the government removed us and put us to live in poverty in Mauritius.
“I spoke at the Respect conference last weekend and encouraged everyone to come and support us. I urged Respect to start a massive campaign in support of the Diego Garcians.”
ASBO laws used on protesters
Pro-Palestinian protesters are having to defend themselves in court after the police arrested them using anti-social behaviour legislation.
Chris Osmond, a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told Socialist Worker, “We demonstrated outside the offices of Caterpillar in Solihull, West Midlands, on 25 June because the United Nations had declared its actions in selling bulldozers to Israel illegal.
“The police arrested us for failing to give our names and addresses. We were deemed to be taking part in anti-social behaviour. Our bail conditions mean we are not allowed to enter the area around the Caterpillar HQ.
“This court case is about the legality of protest. The prosecution is trying to say that protesting is anti-social. We are calling for people to come and support us when our court case takes place in January.”
Retreat over safety laws
Campaigning by the RMT rail union has forced the government to drop plans to scrap tube safety regulations. The regulations came into force after the King’s Cross fire in 1987.
The government had indicated that it would ignore its own specialist committee and get rid of the rules on staffing levels and fire cover, as Socialist Worker reported last week.
It has now retreated, but it is continuing to press ahead with wider attacks on health and safety standards and enforcement in the name of “deregulation”.