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XL action climatecamper
On the 26th February 40 Congolese asylum seekers were deported on an XL chartered plane to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This included 19 children. Since their return to DRC they have been subjected to human rights abuses including rape and torture. These abuses have been catalogued by a Kinshasa lawyer currently in London. Now another group of Congolese asylum seekers have received deportation papers scheduled for the 30th of August. It is believed that an XL charter plane will again be used as part of a Home Office contract.
Several vans of police were called to the scene. People leafleting inside offices were eventually removed, although the person locked on remained. The group outside were subjected to stop and search by police - keys were eventually found and the locked on person was removed and arrested. All staff at XL offices were made aware of the protest and the company's involvement in deporting vulnerable people who have come to this country to seek refuge.
The van of protesters was followed all the way home, stop and searched 4 times, once for every force that it passed through. The person arrested for D-locking in reception was held in custody for 16 hours - bail was refused due to the "political history" of that activist. Freedom to protest?! Eventually the arrested person was taken to Crawley magistrates courts this Saturday morning charged with Aggravated Trespass under the Criminal Justice Act (1994) - an act that was brought in to criminalise a previously civil offence and so deter exactly this sort of protest. Not deterred! It seems that due to an error by police this is an incorrect charge an d a lesser charge of Trespass will be brought. The case was adjourned until 31st August, partly so that the defence can consider whether a case under Article 3 of the Human Rights act can be brought in terms of this direct action being taken to prevent an unlawful act of act, the deportation of Congolese asylum seekers.
The Home Office/Border and Immigration Agency are holding a tribunal in September to review its policy on deporting asylum seekers to the Congo, a tribunal that has constantly been pushed back, increasing the fear and uncertainty of Congolese asylum seeking safety in this country. The Congo is subject to resource wars, fuelled by corporate interests, that kill 1,200 per week according to the UN. XL Airways profits from cheap flights that contribute to climate chaos increasing the number of environmental refugees in the world. XL also profit from deportation charter flights of people who have fled resource wars in the Congo. Cheap flights... cheap lives?!!
This action can be seen as a bridge between the Camp for Climate Action currently at Heathrow (and various other airports) and the No Borders camp happening near Gatwick in September.
While in XL offices their managers defended their business rights to profit from deportation flights and refused to ruled out their involvement in such inhumane activities "if we didn't do it someone else would" was their attitude. Obviously for XL profits come before both people and planet.
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n.b. The bail conditions of the person appearing in court on the 31st of August are to reside at their home in Yorkshire and go no closer than 500metres to any XL offices or UK airport, unless a bona fide air passenger. This person can no longer can be at the Camp for Climate Action, can you??