inside Eldon Square shopping centre
The Newcastle protestors were demanding the immediate release of the Yarl’s Wood women and an end to the unjust, arbitrary detention system of the UK Border Agency. They began their protest on the roof of Eldon Square, creating a spectacular sight for passing shoppers, while leaflets were handed out in the square below. Members of the public were shocked to hear about the treatment of the women, which has had surprisingly little press coverage. However, the protestors were moved on by heavy-handed security. They continued their protest within the shopping centre, but were forcibly moved by four security guards, who used aggressive tactics and personal insults before dragging two of the protestors out of the centre, kicking one of the protestors in the back of the legs as they did so.
Similar protests have taken place around the country since the hunger strikes began, as people realize the abominable practices of Immigration officials, and private companies such as Serco which are making profits out of the misery of migrants. Every year, thousands of innocent people, including torture and rape survivors, people with serious illnesses and over 2,000 children, are detained arbitrarily and indefinitely in detention centers across the UK, for the sole reason that they do not have the correct papers. Without access to legal representation or automatic right to bail, migrants are criminalized, further traumatized and imprisoned though they have committed no crime and have been sentenced without trial.