Caspar Aremi | 02.04.2007 00:20 | Migration
There were demonstrations held across the UK last Wednesday, to highlight the dangers faced by Congolese people being deported to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The protests followed 19 Congolese adults and 23 children, all failed asylum seekers, being snatched by Home Office squads in late February.
On the 21st of February over one hundred asylum seekers and supporters held a protest outside the Home Office Reporting Centre in Glasgow.
ON Friday the 23rd, the group No Borders Brighton protested and did a banner drop at the offices of XL Airways in Crawley. Also that day, 70 protesters in Leeds gathered at the Home Office Reporting Centre to call for a stop of the planned removals.
In Middlesborough on the 25th of February a solidarity march was held.
Regardless, on the 26th of Feb, all the asylum seekers were placed on an XL Airways chartered flight to DRC. This was despite the UN reporting earlier that week that the human rights situation in the country continues to deteriorate, as the army and police perpetrate acts of violence against civilians and the number of reported rapes surges.
Since 1998 over four million lives have been lost in the DRC and though the war is over there is no peace. Deaths continue at the rate of 1,200 per week. Recruitment of child soldiers continues unabated. The infrastructure of the country's hospitals, roads and power supplies are archaic and in some areas are non-existent.
The Bishops of Winchester, Chichester, Durham and Ripon had spoken out against the mass expulsion to DRC. XL Airways complained they could not cope with the number of faxes and calls they received regarding the flights but failed to address any of the issues raised, referring everyone to contact the Home Office.
Protesters had tried to stop the removals by locking themselves to the gates of Tinsley House detention centre in Crawley where the deportees had been held. At the time, protests were also being held at the Home Office in London.
The government was to have held a review of the 'Country Guidance' given in relation to the Congo on 7th March, but this has been postponed until 12th April.
the demonstrations were held last Wednesday in London, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Glasgow. A demo in Birmingham was planned but was rescheduled for April.