‘We call on all trade unionists and anti-war campaigners to support this good cause, Chagos Islands Community Association chairwoman, Hengride Permal, said yesterday.
‘We need support for us to return to our islands and be compensated for our pain and suffering during our 40 years of exile.
‘We want to see the Diego Garcia military base closed down.
‘We call on everybody to sign our petition to fight for our rights and take action to get back our island.
‘We need all the support we can get and we are calling on everybody to come to our meeting today and support us.’
Two men who sought to publicise the Chagos islanders’ cause by sailing into the waters of Diego Garcia are still being held in the British authorities on the islands.
Foreign Office press officer Matthew Costain said: ‘Proceedings have been taken against John Castle, the master of the yacht Musichana, for violating the Visitor and Visiting Vessel Ordnance 2006.
‘This states that no vessel shall enter the territorial waters of Diego Garcia without permission.
‘The magistrates’ court sat on the 13th March and found him guilty, fined him £3,000 and imposed a suspended 6 month term of imprisonment.’
Asked what had happened to crew member Peter Bouquet, Costain added: ‘No proceedings were taken against him.’
Asked why isn’t he being released as no proceedings were taken against him, the press officer said: ‘He is being held for violating immigration rules as he doesn’t have a permit.’
Asked when he will be released, he added: ‘They will be allowed to go when the fine is paid.’
The Stop the War Coalition condemned the men’s detention.
Press officer David Wilson told News Line yesterday: ‘The original inhabitants have been illegally taken off the islands.
‘The handing over of Diego Garcia to become a US military base was illegal and is an outrage against the indigenous inhabitants.
‘The only illegality going on is on the part of the British and US governments.
‘We call for these two men to be released immediately and unconditionally.’