UK, 2 April 2005. For the first time, a wide coalition of groups participated in a UK-wide, decentralised, but synchronised action day for a radical and uncompromising "no" to immigration controls, following a call for a European day of action for free movement and the right to stay.
People in Birmingham [pic], London, Manchester [call|pics|report], Glasgow, Nottingham [call|occupation|pics 1|2], Oxford and Canterbury were out in the streets simultaneously and made clear that they don't think what the Tories think.
For the first time, people with very different political cultures had mobilised together for free movement: the National Coalition of Anti-deportation Campaigns and the campaigns against detention centers along with committees to defend asylum seekers, migrant and refugee support and community groups, black and asian groups, direct action groups, trade unions, noborder activists and people from social centres.
In Europe, demos and actions were announced in 41 cities and 11 countries. They included the occupation of a detention centre in Barcelona and the occupation of the IOM-offices in Paris [more links]. In Ireland, a demo welcomed back Olunkunle Eluhanle from Nigeria.
The day of action, first agreed at the European Social Forum in London last year, is seen as a contribution to the European landscape of rebellion against migration management. Activists regard it as closely connected to the Euromayday initiatives, thereby linking issues of migration and work.
For links to actions all over Europe, check Indymedia Germany.Manchester:
Three marches against deportations and racism joined in Manchester City Center on 2 april as part of the European Day of Action for Free Movement and the Right to Stay. More than a dozen organisations [call] came together with individual anti-deportation campaigns to organise this event. Traditional trade union banners and street theatre, the songs of the Congolese contingent and the sambaband, chants in English, Urdu and Lingala made for an unusually diverse demo [report]
The South Manchester march was led by Mansoor Hassan, an investigative journalist who fled Pakistan after death threats were made against him and his family. His campaign is backed by the National Union of Journalists, who also backed the whole day's events. The march was joined by many individual anti-deportation campaigns from the South of Manchester. A street theatre staged a mobile detention centre complete with detainees.
North Manchester marched with Farhat Khan from Pakistan, who escaped with her children from a violent husband and has been working in various asylum seeker support organisations. Her own claim for asylum has been refused.
A samba band and the "Brides Without Borders" set out with Debbie Mgijima and Moses Kayiza from Manchesters Gay Village. Moses Kayiza is a gay asylum seeker who was detained and abused in Uganda because of his sexuality. His asylum claim was refused.