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A protest has been held against the council’s involvement with Veolia, a company accused of illegally dumping waste in West Jerusalem. The protest took place in Guildhall Square on the 25th of April and saw people turn out who included Green Party candidate for Portsmouth South Ian McCulloch. The protest coincided with a protest over saving the NHS from the group 38 Degrees.
The group, who were a combined effort between the students at the university and the people of Portsmouth, assembled in Guildhall Square with a variety of banners and the group organising the protest later thanked those who came saying: “We had a reasonably good turnout today – thanks to all who attended.”
The question was posed to the majority of Portsmouth South candidates asking:
The campaigners argue that the company has been in violation of international law through facilitating settlement building in the Israeli Occupied Palestine.
Angelika Waigand, who posed the question to the candidates on GovFaces, later stated:
“I wish the turnout was better (specifically from the student side) and that more people would engage with these things because they’re incredibly important issues that need more public attention. But I’d say the general reception of the protest from the public was quite positive and got people interested. There’s definitely interest in supporting the cause but it’s difficult to channel that into more engagement. The majority of students is quite passive and it would be great to see more pro activeness and support from the student body since they could make a real difference.”
Veolia is a waste management group whose current contract will expire in 2023/5. The suggested plan is to extend the contract until 2030. When evaluating the potential outcomes for the plans the recommended option was seen as extending the contract with the group, with the move being seen as having fewer risks.
Below is Lib-Dem candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson’s response to the question on GovFaces:
Aidan Williams is a contributing writer and a University of Portsmouth student.