GENTECH archive


Re: Some CARAVAN participants refused entry by brits.

I can confirm from Amsterdam that a group of farmers has been told to come
back after thursday, which is obviously too late. The story of the foreign
office is a pertinent lie.
I was waiting wednesdaymorning at the consulat, visa department where I would
go with some of the farmers who would bring all papers required. In the mean
time one of my colleagues was told by phone that the farmers needed not to
come before friday.
MichaelP wrote:  The foreign office definitely has obstructed a group of KRRS
farmers to come to the UK.

> GUARDIAN (London) Thursday May 27, 1999
> Indian farmers on protest tour refused entry to UK
> John Vidal
> More than 70 Indian peasant farmers and social activists claim to have
> been refused entry to Britain to demonstrate about the unfairness of
> the global trading system, despite being allowed into other European
> countries and having the backing of Labour MPs, MEPs, human rights and
> anti-racist organisations.
> Only 37 farmers out of some 120 due to come to Britain as part of
> Intercontinental Caravan, a month-long tour of west and east Europe by
> more than 500 people from developing countries, have been given visas.
> They arrive today on a converted bus and will spend three days holding
> public meetings, visiting the HQs of large companies and the Bank of
> England.
> But yesterday the foreign office denied allegations that it was
> supressing free speech or that it was acting politically, claiming
> that many of the farmers had applied too late or not at all.
> The farmers' version of events differs greatly from the government's.
> They claim that they had been treated "like untouchables" when they
> applied at the high commission in Madras.
> "We were told to bring more and more documents, including our land
> deeds and titles, then our bank details. We all had letters from host
> organisations guaranteeing our conduct in Britain," said one farmer,
> who is now in Holland.
> "When we protested, the embassy called the police and 19 of us were
> arrested. All we want to do is tell the British what is happening to
> the poorest in India. They still have the colonial mindset in Madras."
> It was a similar story in Amsterdam, they said. Having been told to
> apply again when they arrived in Europe they were told yesterday to
> provide more papers and that "only three or four" applications could
> be processed. By late yesterday none had been granted.
> Most of the delegation are thought to be members of the Karnataka
> state farmers' organisation, based in Bangalore. Claiming membership
> of up to 10 million peasant farmers in the state, the leaders, who
> also have the backing of the Gandhi organisation, have long protested
> in a peaceful way against multinational companies and the
> international trading system.
> Yesterday the foreign office said that the farmers had been treated
> like everyone else. "They were asked to make applications and to
> submit evidence to show who was funding their trip. Some refused and
> staged a demonstration. We tried to explain what was required," said a
> spokesman.
> But Labour MEP Stan Newens said, "I will be very sorry if this group
> who want to raise important global issues cannot come."
> ========
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