"Nothing to do with us": London cab drivers distance themselves from pro-Qatar adverts

Qatar’s London cab PR stunt backfires. (Twitter)
Updated 14 July 2017
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"Nothing to do with us": London cab drivers distance themselves from pro-Qatar adverts

London cabbies were bemused Thursday at claims that an ad campaign promoting the end to the blockade of Qatar was supposedly created to show solidarity by taxi drivers.
Speaking to cabbies in South Kensington, outside the Harrods department store and at the busy cab rank at Paddington Station, Arab News was told by drivers that they have “nothing to do with what goes on the sides of the cabs,” and that they pay little attention to “whatever advertising” happens to be splashed across their sides.
None of the cabbies interviewed around the city had heard of the campaign, which according to media reports was organized in solidarity with Qatar.
The London Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) said: “This is not something that the LTDA is able to comment on as the LTDA (does) not control what members have on their taxis.”
The cabs carrying the slogans proved elusive on the streets of the capital today, despite footage of them circulating on social media.
Across London, cabbies said they had not seen any taxis with the Qatar ad, nor did they recognize it, raising questions as to whether it was merely a short-term PR stunt.
In Edgware Road, near Marble Arch, where taxis featuring the Qatar ads were initially snapped for promotional pictures, some local shopkeepers and waiters said they had seen the cabs on launch day, but not since.
On Twitter, the taxi PR stunt provoked an amused reaction, with one Twitterati flagging other ad campaigns as a tongue-in- cheek way of supposedly showing London cabs being in solidarity with a range of companies.

Taxi advertising is known to be a strong PR tool on London’s streets, with companies ranging from fast food to clothing, banks and airlines all using the medium.
“A taxi can be a powerful PR tool. Whether you’re ferrying VIPs and guests to and from venues or looking to arrive in style at a prestigious event, a branded taxi can help you stand out from the crowd and communicate your message in style!” says the London Taxi Advertising company.

In a report on the Qatari owned news  channel, Al Jazeera Arabic, a reporter recently suggested that London cab drivers have recently called for the lifting of the measures imposed against Qatar.

Last month, an anti-terror quartet of Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain) decided to cut off ties with Qatar over its ties to terror groups.


Rights group slams ‘inhuman’ treatment of migrants in Greece

Updated 26 min 35 sec ago
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Rights group slams ‘inhuman’ treatment of migrants in Greece

  • “Foreign nationals deprived of their liberty by the Greek authorities must be treated humanely and with dignity,” the Council’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture said
  • “Conditions of detention were found to be grossly sub-standard in some of the police and border guard stations visited,” they said

STRASBOURG: The Council of Europe rights body Tuesday condemned the “inhuman and degrading treatment” of migrants and asylum seekers held in Greece, adding it had credible allegations of abuse by police.
“Foreign nationals deprived of their liberty by the Greek authorities must be treated humanely and with dignity,” the Council’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) said.
The committee published the report after visiting the country — which has been at the frontline of the migration crisis in Europe — over ten days in April 2018.
“Conditions of detention were found to be grossly sub-standard in some of the police and border guard stations visited,” it said.
At one center in the Evros region in the northeast on the Turkish border, families, children, pregnant women and single men were held together for weeks and sometimes months in a center that offered just one square meter of living space per person.
It said such conditions “can easily be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.”
The committee also said it received “credible allegations of police ill-treatment (slaps, punches, kicks, baton blows and verbal abuse) from foreign nationals held” in the Evros region and at a camp on the island of Lesbos.
Other migrants claimed to have been driven back to Turkey by border guards.
The number of migrants arriving in Greece peaked in 2015, when more than a million people, most of them Syrian refugees, crossed over from Turkey, mainly by boat.
A deal struck between the European Union and Ankara in 2016 helped stem the flow.
However, the number of people attempting to cross the river Evros into Greece has increased since naval patrols intensified in the Aegean Sea in 2016.
The CPT recommended that Greek authorities significantly increase the number of centers for unaccompanied minors.
In 2017 it had denounced the conditions of thousands of migrants who were held in cramped cells lacking food and drinking water as unacceptable.
In a response included in the report, Greek authorities said that investigations into unofficial removals and ill-treatment by officers had found “no disciplinary liability” by the police.
They blamed the poor conditions of detention in the Evros region on “increased migratory pressure” at the time of the CPT’s visit.