Since 2003 a campaign, triggered by the murder of ISM activist Rachel Corrie, has been building to force Caterpillar to end all contracts with Israel. People have taken action in the UK, the US and all over Europe.
Due to pressure from campaigners and rebuke from the United Nations Caterpillar have been forced to make public statements about the use of the D9 by the Israeli army. Caterpillar’s position is that they no longer supply D9’s to Israel but they will not say whether they supply parts to maintain the Israeli army’s existing D9s.
Protesters originally gathered at the back and front entrances of Grosvenor House. The police issued a highly dubious Section 14 (Public Order Act 1984) order. Restricting protest to the front of the hotel. The main purpose of the order seemed to be to make things easier for the police to control the protest. However, the order was never fully enforced and there was a constant activist presence at the back of the hotel.
Participants included the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jewish Socialist Group, Jews For Justice for Palestinians, War on Want, Architect and planners for Justice in Palestine, Rhythms of Resistance, International Solidarity Movement a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and an insurgent clown
The police were petty and controlling throughout, corralling activists in a pen and threatening arrests for blocking the pavement. However, the event was a success with all delegates to the event hearing the message of protest against the decision to invite Michael Baunton.