Hundreds of leaflets were distributed to the general public informing them of the current abysmal conditions in Harmondsworth and other detention centres, and the need to support asylum seekers in their struggle. Several people stopped & expressed their astonishment at the racist behaviour of the Home Office. The people on the demo were buoyed by their success and there was lots of spontaneous singing, clapping & dancing.
Unfortunately the end of the demo was marred by the heavy-handed intervention of the local police force, who parked their van in front of the demo and tried to intimidate the protestors. The protestors were informed that they were required to move further away from the Newcastle United shop but after they had done so they were then told that they were obstructing the highway, despite the fact that cars & people could pass easily by the demo.
An aggressive police officer then proceeded to arrest a protestor who was filming his conversation with a local solicitor. The solicitor had been defending the demonstrators right to protest. The police officer then forced the protestor to erase the film of the conversation from his mobile phone as a precondition for his release.
As all this was going on several members of the public stopped and were extremely supportive. The oppressive actions of the police only served to increase the impact of the demonstration.
NO TO DETENTION! NO TO FORCED DEPORTATION! STOP LOCKING UP CHILDREN!
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