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Lincolnshire coach company cancels Palestine protest trip to London due to ‘company policy’

A Lincolnshire coach company cancelled a trip that was booked to go to London for a peaceful Palestine protest due to “company policy.” Sleafordian Coaches cancelled the trip booked by Lincoln Friends of Palestine, a group campaigning against the occupation of Palestine, when it discovered the purpose of the trip.

The company said it “avoids all involvement with protests of any description” due to concerns regarding vehicle damage and the safety of the drivers. Lincoln Friends of Palestine expressed “grave concern” over the cancellation and described it as “an impediment on our basic freedom.”

A spokesperson for Sleafordian Coaches said: “On booking a vehicle the group in question did not disclose full information on what they were planning to do in London on Saturday, November 11. When we discovered their intent was to partake in a protest, we took the decision to not operate this coach, and refunded the cost back to the group within minutes after the phone conversation.

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“Company policy, and previous experience dictates that we avoid all involvement with protests of any description, due to the potential for damage to our vehicles, and to ensure the safety of our drivers. We also considered the guidance issued by The Metropolitan Police who had tweeted saying the risk of violence and disorder was growing and there was concern ahead of a busy weekend in the capital.”

They added: “Had we been made aware of the groups intentions whilst in the capital we would have advised our policy at the outset, and not provided an initial quote.”

Lincoln Friends of Palestine said it “never hid the purpose of going to a peaceful protest” and added: “We, Lincoln Friends of Palestine, express grave concern as the Sleadordian Coach company, with whom we had commissioned to travel to London to a peaceful protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Palestine, cancelled our booking citing police guidance.

“Lincoln Friends of Palestine condemn such an impediment on our basic freedom of assembly from whatever quarter it came. This comes at a time when Amnesty International have stated that Government pressure on police to ban peaceful protests is illegitimate.

“The Home Secretary describing overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations as “hate marches” and “extremist” is a dystopian distortion.” Lincolnshire Police confirmed it hadn’t been contacted by Sleafordian Coaches regarding transport arrangements.

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