Monday, January 26, 2009

Update from Glasgow Stop the War

Glasgow Stop the War Coalition

BBC Scotland headquarters occupied after refusal to show DEC Gaza aid appeal – Occupation victorious in highlighting the issue

GLASGOW – Over 100 people participated in an occupation of the BBC Scotland headquarters today, demanding that the broadcaster show the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza. Occupiers entered the building at 5pm, and despite the police threatening mass arrests to remove everyone within 15 minutes, the occupation remained for almost 4 hours.

The occupation was successful in applying additional pressure on the BBC through extensive national and international media coverage, including CNN, CBS and Al-Jazeera. Tony Benn also telephoned the occupation to offer his support, saying 'The decision to occupy the BBC in Glasgow must be understood as a plea for the people of Gaza, who are suffering so much and who need our help to help get the money through'.

A delegation from the occupation was elected to meet with Ian Small, Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs and member of the BBC's Executive Board, who was called in specially to meet with the occupiers. The occupation had three main demands:

* That the BBC reverse its decision and show the DEC Appeal for Gaza.
* That the BBC director responsible for the decision not to air the appeal should be asked to resign.
* That the BBC show coverage of the outrage of the British people against the stopping of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The BBC agreed that it will arrange a meeting with the delegation with Ken McQuarrie, the Controller of the BBC Scotland, and Atholl Duncan, the head of news for BBC Scotland on Wednesday the 28th of January. Glasgow Stop the War Coalition is asking its supporters and those who support humanitarian aid to Gaza to gather outside the BBC on Wednesday at 4.30pm.

Protestors also promised to return unless the DEC appeal is aired. Glasgow Stop the War also called for others to take similar actions around the UK.

All the occupiers decided to leave the building together, and no arrests were made.

'The life of every man, woman and child in Gaza is just as valuable as the lives of people anywhere else in the world. The people of Britain want to help the people of Gaza, and the BBC should give them the information to do so. Every day that the BBC waits to show this appeal, more people in Gaza will die,' said Penny Howard, of the Stop the War Coalition.