Holding G4S to account

Holding G4S to account


Written by: Harmit Athwal

Last week, activists gathered to protest at the activities of the multinational corporation G4S, whose guards were involved in the death of Angolan Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010.

A ‘day of action for Jimmy Mubenga, victim of G4S and the deadly deportation machine’ saw people from numerous groups campaigning against the activities of G4S gather with the family and friends of Jimmy Mubenga to remember him on the two-year anniversary of his death.

Jimmy’s wife Makenda Adrienne Kambana attended the first protest outside the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with her young daughter. She was joined on this vigil by forty others, holding placards and banners, calling on the CPS to bring charges against G4S.

Jimmy died on 12 October 2010 on a British Airways plane at Heathrow after being restrained by three guards from G4S during a forced deportation to Angola. It took the CPS nearly eighteen months to make a decision on whether the officers involved or G4S itself would face charges.

In July, just as the Olympics were about to start and as G4S’ security failures were front-page news, the CPS announced its decision not to prosecute G4S or the officers involved  because of ‘insufficient evidence’. Jimmy Mubenga’s family will now have to wait until next year when an inquest jury will decide how he died. After the inquest, before a jury, it is hoped that the CPS will be forced to reconsider bringing charges.

Last Friday campaigners also took the protest on to the G4S headquarters in central London, where a noisy demonstration took place that highlighted its various nefarious activities. (Officers policing the picket privately voiced their support for the picket, no doubt fearing that their jobs could be the next to be privatised.) The forty or so protestors came from a cross-section of organisations and campaigns as diverse as G4S’ business interests, with campaigners against G4S’ involvement in the detention of asylum seekers in the UK meeting up with those protesting about its operation of checkpoints in the Occupied Territories and prisons holding Palestinian prisoners.

The action came just six days after a G4S Convergence in Sheffield, where campaigners gathered to coordinate campaigning against the activities of the company and included organisations such as the Boycott Israel Network, Corporate Watch, Dundee Trades Council, Jewish Socialists’ Group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign, No Borders UK, No One Is Illegal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) and Stop Deportations. A Stop G4S, network of grassroots activist groups, campaigns, NGOs and trade unionists was established to hold the company ‘to account for its track record of human rights abuses across the world’, hoping to ‘stop the company from taking over public services or being given any more control over our lives’.

Related links

Stop G4S

Corporate Watch

No Borders UK


Read an IRR News story: ‘Two years on and no justice for Jimmy Mubenga

Read an IRR News story: ‘Jimmy Mubenga’s family devastated

Read an IRR News story: ‘Perverse failure to prosecute G4S over Jimmy Mubenga’s death

Read an IRR News story: ‘Jimmy Mubenga remembered

Read an IRR News story: ‘Call for justice for Jimmy Mubenga

Read an IRR News story: ‘Justice for Jimmy Mubenga


The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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