Rights groups appeal to City’s owners to release prisoner and respect human rights on Peterloo anniversary
Wednesday 17th August 2016 @ 14:16 by Nigel P.
News

Manchester City’s Football Club’s connection to the United Arab Emirates came under scrutiny this week as an open letter was sent requesting, the release of a prominent activist imprisoned in the country.

Human Rights Organisations, Amnesty and US based Human Rights Watch used the letter to Crown Prince Mansour to launch a campaign appealing to the Arab State to respect people’s rights in their country.

Both organisations drafted a letter calling for the release of UAE democracy activist Dr Mohamed al Roken imprisioned for speaking out against abuses in his country and calling for democratic change.

The letter Coincides with the 197th. anniversary of the infamous Peterloo Massacre when a crowd of 60,000 people gathered in what was Saint Peter’s Fields in Central Manchester, to protest for more rights and greater representation in Parliament.

The City magistrates panicked, called out the Militia including the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry alongside regular troops, with orders to arrest the protest leaders and disperse the crowd.

What followed was bloody carnage and death meted out by the sabres and musket shot of the military on the peaceful crowd,

By the end of the afternoon 19 people lay dead and over 500 injured including many women and children.

The carnage was dubbed the Peterloo Massacre following a pun on the victory at Waterloo just four years earlier.

The event served as a milestone in the long tradition that positioned Manchester at the cutting edge  in the struggle for greater freedoms and rights of all peoples.

Peterloo was followed by the Chartist Movement, the first Trades Union Congress and the Suffragette Movement.

Nicholas McGeehan of Human Rights Watch said: ” Manchester above all other cities has this unique and incredible history of being at the forefront in the development of  peoples rights and freedoms, it is therefore incredulous not to say ironic that one of Manchester’s great football clubs should be associated with a regime that is basically oppressive.”

“The aim of our campaign is to make people aware that the people running the Club are the same people committing Human Rights violations and making bad laws back in UAE.”

The letter has been signed by Two of Tameside’s three MPs one Andrew Gwynne  said:”200 years ago today the Peterloo massacre took place in Manchester.

People of normal backgrounds came together to protest against the lack of parliamentary representation.

The rights we take for granted in Britain are still being denied in some countries: the UAE being a case in point.”

Ashton MP,Angela Raynor said:”Manchester has a proud record on human rights both at home and abroad and as we mark the 197th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, it is important that we uphold the freedom of people across the world to demonstrate and protest in the name of the democracy. That’s why I support the campaign for freedom and human rights in the United Arab Emirates.”.

MP for Staybridge and Hyde, Jonathan Reynolds has not yet seen the letter but sent a statement reaffirming his commitment to the support of human rights “I’m excited by the current levels of international investment in Greater Manchester, but I absolutely agree that Manchester’s proud record of fighting for human rights should continue through our partnership working. We should never hold investors to ransom, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if the upcoming 200th anniversary of Peterloo was the catalyst for Manchester improving the rights of human rights across the world.”|

”The letter was also signed by fellow Manchester and Salford MPs Graham Stringer and Rebecca Long Bailey and a handful of Manchester Councillors with the notable exceptions of the executive leaders of the Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese and Howard Bernstein.

Both councillors are believed to be reluctant to criticise the ruling Emiriati families as they fear this could jeopardise the massive £1.6 billion partnership the Council has formed with the UAE’s Manchester Life Investments.

The company are developing 9oo residential properties in East Manchester from Ancoats to Beswick.and in partnership with Chinese backers there are believed to be further developments in the pipeline.

Plans to develop Manchester University’s

Seven Emirates make up this dynamic oil rich, Arab state which has taken pains to invest its oil revenues into a modern lasting infrastructure. Though the tiny nations progress on democracy and human rights has not kept pace with commercial and economic development.

Seven Emirates make up this dynamic oil rich, Arab state which has taken pains to invest its oil revenues into a modern lasting infrastructure. Though the tiny nations progress on democracy and human rights has not kept pace with commercial and economic development.

campus unravelled earlier this year when a £175 million project was abandoned by mutual consent.

It is thought that the university was unhappy about increased costs above original estimates.

Andrew Gwynn explained how he reconciled his obvious distaste of politics in the Gulf States with his support for his beloved Manchester City club explaining :”Im proud of the investment they’ve made in east Manchester.

Being friends with these countries places us in an awkward position, but it shouldn’t do good friend’s challenge each other’s beliefs. The owners have invested in young people and the city.Denton community College has strong links with City in the Community.

“I’m privileged in the respect that I can meet with ambassadors and diplomats from a range of countries where we can raise these issues through official channels.”

Indeed there is general acknowledgement from several channels that the Mansour era has not just brought good fortune to the football team but also to run down parts of East Manchester

Alongside the improvements of the stadium, MCFC has helped, alongside the Manchester City Council, to implement several projects under the Beswick Hub Regeneration with the donation of 16/80 acres of its land for community use and to aid regeneration of the East Manchester area.

The improvements in the area include a community centre, a leisure centre – with a swimming pool entirely funded by the Club, the Cornell Sixth Form College, and the Institute for Sports Science and Sports Medicine, of which the Club is paying for over half.

Players from Manchester City Youth teams will be educated at the Cornell Sixth Form College,   students at the College will also have access to 16 pitches from the Training Academy’s land.  The  Construction work force  will be almost entirely Mancunian, with over 100 full time jobs provided afterwards.

So why we ask if they are so bad at home do the UAE people seem to do so much good here?

Nicholas McGeehan lived in the UAE for Four years working as a teacher and became interested in campaigning for change in the country when he witnessed the oppressiveness of the regime first hand.

He reckons that ownership of football clubs by rich dictators across the world is about Soft Power.HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH LOGO

He said;”It is about brand building allows he owners to present themselves and benefactors with an uncritical fan base It  means that because the TV stations need  access to grounds and training grounds they  can insure themselves against unflattering news or investigation pieces on them. It is cheap and effective PR.”

Manchester City football club were sent a copy of the signed campaign letter and approached for a resonse but have so far declined to comment.