Home | Friday 12th February 2010 | Issue 709

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Last Sunday (8th), two teams of activists blockaded the gates of Cargoflora and Carmel Agrexco in protest at the importation of flowers from occupied Palestine. Several of the blockaders were severely assaulted by staff at the Cargoflora depot.

One activist said, “We got there at around 5.30, and by 6 we had ten people locked on with D-Locks, superglue and Harris fencing panels – the security guard was asleep in his caravan the whole time”.

Over at Carmel workers didn’t do much except wait for the police - maybe Carmel have just got used to these interventions.

At Cargoflora it was a different story; workers yanked at D-Locks and tried to intimidate activists. Eventually the police did show up but they refused to intervene as the staff wrenched one gate open, even using a fork lift truck to force out one blockader, still locked to the gate leading out to the road. Supporters rushed over to the other gate to prevent more of the same, and after tussles with the boltcropper-wielding staff they were dragged away by police.

Eventually the activists, point made, unlocked themselves. Both of the protesters on the second gate required hospital treatment. Meanwhile the Met’s finest stopped ‘n’ searched all of the two’s supporters. As has become traditional at Carmel protests, no-one was arrested – clearly Cargoflora are just as worried as Carmel about subjecting the origin of their products to the court process.

With Valentine’s day looming (not that you needed reminding, right?) Israeli companies are set to make a fortune out of the romantically guilt-ridden British public. Amazingly many of those red roses and blue violets on sale in the florists are actually coming out of the besieged Gaza Strip. The relentless Israeli blockade of Palestinian products has been specially eased up during this period. Around 450,000 flowers are passing through the Gaza crossings each week, bound for the UK, Holland and other parts of Europe. Carmel Agrexco’s flowers are also sourced from the occupied West Bank.

In previous years, Carmel-Agrexco’s UK headquarters in Hayes, Middlesex, was the site of angry protests on Valentine’s Day, (see SchNEWS 699) with campaigners calling for a boycott of Israeli flowers and other goods. SchNEWS has learned (off of Corporate Watch) that Cargoflora, which has premises around the corner from Agrexco’s depot, has in previous years provided freight services for Carmel-Agrexco flowers over the Valentine’s period.

*see www.corporatewatch.org and www.bigcampaign.org 


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