Emma from NCADC talked about the abuse of human rights of people in detention whilst others spoke of the suffering and tragic death of Esrafeel Tajarogee, an Iranian seeking asylum who set himself on fire after his asylum application was rejected. There were songs and an open mic session where everyone was encouraged to speak.
People arriving at the prison to visit relatives were given leaflets about the inhuman effects of asylum policy, where asylum seekers are held in prisons, criminalized by the Home Office, made destitute and homeless and forced to work illegally in order to survive. On this occasion we had information that seven men who had been arrested for working in a pizza factory were being held at the prison. Visitors to the prison were shocked to find that illegal workers and detainees dispersed after the riot at Harmondsworth detention centre had been incarcerated at HMP Forest Bank. Most visitors wanted to know how they could help people imprisoned or facing deportation.
We hope the noise we made (with many thanks to the singer and the samba band) was heard across the wall. We have been told by people previously detained that knowing that the demonstration is their lifts their spirits as it shows they have not been forgotten.
We intend to keep challenging the process of the asylum machine which denies basic human rights and is directly responsible for the deaths of many. As well as the recent tragic suicides, people deported are often imprisoned and tortured on return to their home country. Many are held in conditions which can lead to starvation and death.
Detention and deportation are crimes against humanity. The system is relentless but it is not invulnerable. Please help by countering the common myths about people seeking asylum and by supporting future actions at HMP Forest Bank and elsewhere.
Please consider becoming a ‘buddy’ by offering friendship and support to people fighting asylum claims and visiting people held in detention. We are also asking people to write to the seven people detained at HMP Forest Bank for working without a permit. If you can help, please contact us.
No Borders meets the last Tuesday of every month at the new Social Centre in the basement of 14 Lever St, Manchester. The next meeting is tonight at 7.30pm. The no border network is a tool for all groups and grass root organizations who work on the questions of migrants and asylum seekers in order to struggle alongside with them for freedom of movement, for the freedom for all to stay in the place which they have chosen, against repression and the many controls which multiply the borders everywhere in all countries. We are a network of individuals and organisations including NCADC (The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns), The Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers and others).
Thank you to all individuals and organisations who supported the demonstration. See you next time!
For further info:
Emma 07786 517379 / firstname.lastname@example.org,
http://www.noborder.org/ (No Borders webpage)
http://www.ncadc.org.uk/ (National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns)
http://www.defend-asylum.org/ (Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers)