Stop Deportation | 12.05.2009 18:18 | Migration
As soon as the blockade was removed by the police cutting team around 12:45pm, three WH Tours and Woodcock coaches were seen leaving the detention centre carrying about 45 deportees. Another 10 or so had been taken from Brook House detention centre at Gatwick earlier this morning. The time, airline and departure airport of the flight have not been disclosed by the Home Office but it is believed to have left Stanstead this afternoon.
At least three people were taken off the flight following last-minute high court injunctions. Another man, who had not been given Removal Directions but was nonetheless being deported, was also taken off.
Earlier reports said detainees resisted being put on the coaches by taking off their cloths and refusing to leave their cells. A large number of Serco security guards eventually overcame them but other detainees, hearing what was going on both inside and outside Colnbrook, started a mass protest. There have been no updates since.
A similar mass deportation flight to Iraq in March this year was met by campaigners with a similar blockade of Tinsley House detention centre at Gatwick airport, which lasted for six hours and resulted in nine arrests.
One of the protesters, who was arrested both times, said:
"Deportation charter flights such as this one are fast becoming the government's favoured way to deport those who have fallen foul of its macabre immigration controls. Every deportation is a violation of people's right to freedom of movement but these charter flights are a particularly sordid way to do that. On top of the trauma and hardship caused by deportation, these charter flights further undermine the legal rights of the deportees whose lives are torn apart. Many deportees have not exhausted all legal avenues available to them and have not had access to adequate legal representation as the emphasis is on filling the flight and getting rid of them as soon as possible and outside the public gaze."