This weekend will see protests taking place across the country against detention centres which hold asylum seekers.
Saturday 21 March has been marked a nationwide day of action largely organised by the No Border network, a national network of locally-based groups campaigning ‘for the freedom of movement for all’. Two detention centres, Yarl’s Wood in Bedford and Pennine House in Manchester, will be the site of protests and the Edinburgh offices of G4S, a private company involved in their operation will also be picketed. On Sunday there will be a ‘Solidarity gathering’ at Dungavel removal centre in Lanarkshire. (See below for a full list of actions.)
Earlier this week, on 17 March, twenty anti-deportation campaigners blockaded Tinsley House detention centre at Gatwick airport using D-locks and super-glue. The aim of the protest was to try and prevent the deportation of Iraqis on a special charter flight to Iraqi Kurdistan. Nine protesters were arrested for ‘failure to leave land after a warning’ and taken to Crawley police station. The day after the protest, Jacqui Smith, home secretary, officially opened Brook House, a detention centre for 426 people which is run by G4S (Group 4 Securicor). (Read an IRR News story: ‘Building for deportation’.)
Last Friday evening, activists ‘detained’ Phil Woolas, the Minister for Immigration and Borders, in his Oldham constituency office for thirty minutes. No arrests were made and Woolas was escorted from his office by police officers.
Weekend of protest
- Bedford: Demonstration at Yarl’s Wood removal centre, 11.30-2pm, assemble in Bedford town centre to march from Bedford to Yarl’s Wood detention centre.
- Manchester: Demonstrate together against detention, 12pm, rally at noon in Albert Square outside Manchester Town Hall followed by bike/train ride to Pennine House Detention Centre, Terminal 2, Manchester Airport, for 2pm.
- Newcastle: Speak out against racism, 12-2pm, Grey’s Monument, Newcastle city centre.
- Edinburgh: Action against G4S, 12pm, G4S (Group 4 Securicor), 100 Telford Road, Edinburgh EH4 2NF
- Dungavel: Solidarity gathering, Sunday 22 March 2009, 1pm, Dungavel Detention Centre, Strathaven, South Lanarkshire ML10 6RF