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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 12:51 GMT
Protest over Powell dinner speech
Colin Powell arriving at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow
Colin Powell travelled to Glasgow to speak at the event
About 150 protesters gathered outside a Glasgow hotel as former US Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a speech at a fund-raising event.

Mr Powell addressed a function on Monday night organised by the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

He said it was "a pleasure" to be in Scotland and that he was looking forward to a great evening.

But pro-Palestinian and human rights campaigners protested at the Hilton Hotel, chanting "Powell go home".

The human rights group Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) wanted to raise the issue of CIA rendition flights with Mr Powell.

He was guest speaker at the JNF Charitable Trust event, which was addressed by former US President Bill Clinton four years ago.

Mr Powell's speech was enititled Diplomacy, Persuasion, Trust and Values.

International figures

Stanley Lovatt, chairman of the JNF's Glasgow committee, said he had tried to find another speaker as famous as Mr Clinton.

"Colin Powell is just about the number one speaker in the world just now," he said.

"We started negotiations well over a year ago and managed to tie him down."

Colin Powell and Stanley Lovatt
Colin Powell was greeted by JNF committee chairman Stanley Lovatt

He said Mr Powell was talking about the various international figures he had encountered on the world stage and the part he has played in global affairs.

There was also a 30-minute violin performance by award-winning young musician Nicola Benedetti.

The retired general was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the most senior position in the US military, during the first Gulf War.

Mr Powell was also George W Bush's secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.

The Scottish Friends of Palestine said it was "extremely disappointed" at his decision to address the dinner.

Touched down

The organisation said it was staging a protest to highlight its claims that the Jewish National Fund is detrimental to the Palestinian people both within Israel and worldwide.

Meanwhile, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) and the Stop the War Coalition planned to hand Mr Powell a letter calling for an end to rendition flights, which they believe have touched down in Scotland.

The US consul general in Scotland has denied that Scottish airports have been used as stopovers for flights carrying terror suspects.

Protesters gathered outside the hotel
Protesters carrying Palestinian flags gathered outside the hotel

The US Government has confirmed that such flights have taken place across the world, but dismissed allegations of prisoner abuse.

Scottish National Party MSP Sandra White said Strathclyde Police should interview Mr Powell over the rendition flights.

Ms White said evidence indicated that Mr Powell was in post when the majority of the flights occurred.

She said: "I am certain he would be able to provide police with additional information which might spark them into investigating breaches of international and Scots law."

A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said officers would not be interviewing Mr Powell.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the protesters outside the hotel



SEE ALSO:
MSPs urge prisoner flights detail
22 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Protest over 'prisoner flights'
18 Dec 05 |  Scotland
Powell raps Europe on CIA flights
17 Dec 05 |  Americas


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