Eleven No Borders activists have been charged with public order offences following an action to stop a charter flight to Ghana earlier this week.
On Valentines’ evening a group of over forty No Borders activists carried out a blockade of Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres in west London. The aim of the action was an attempt to stop the deportation of Ghanaian migrants on a charter flight from Stansted. The activists managed to delay the flight after holding up the coaches (operated by WH Tours) from leaving the two detention centres, which are situated next to one another. The action was part of a week-long No Borders Convergence that is currently taking place in London.
One of the protesters who took part in the blockade said: ‘We were standing there surrounded by cops as news that a number of the deportees were being taken off the flight was arriving. This was a result of last-minute legal representations which the blockade made possible. If we hadn’t been there, these people would have probably been deported too, in a complete disregard of their legal rights. The heavy-handed policing was only there to facilitate this cynical operation.’
If other Ghanaians were placed on the flight in place of others taken off, then this practice flouts recent recommendations by the Chief Inspector of Prisons and the Home Affairs Committee which both recommend that the practice of using ‘reserves’ should be discontinued.
Two days later, on Thursday morning, campaigners gathered at Uxbridge magistrates to protest at the arrest of eleven people and their prolonged detention, (the group have been held since late Tuesday night). The eleven who faced charges under s14 of the Public Order Act of causing ‘serious disruption to the life of the community’ were bailed until the trial which is due to take place at Uxbridge magistrates court on 8 March 2012.
London No Borders report: ‘Activists blockade Heathrow detention centre to stop mass deportation flight to Ghana’