April 2006 No Borders Days of Action
International No Borders demonstrations including the UK ones at Harmondsworth Detention Centre near Heathrow Airport, Manchester and Glasgow, April 2006.
On Saturday April 15th around 300 people marched through Manchester as part of international protests against immigration detention [ call out and more details] People came from Leeds, Newcastle and elsewhere to join the protest and included many asylum seekers and refugees.
The March started outside Strangeways Prison where asylum seekers are being detained for working illegally. The demo went along Deansgate, past British Airways who deport asylum seekers, and then stopped outside the registry office where people from Brides Without Borders spoke about their campaigns and experiences. The March continued on to China Town where the cockle picker s who died at Morcambe Bay were remembered and it ended in a rally at the Peace Gardens.
Reports: 1 | 2 | 3
Audio : chants | more chants | Suzanne Foreman from Brides Without Borders talks about setting up Brides Without Borders and how the Campaign is growing | Lisa Gordon from Brides Without Borders talks about living with her husband being under constant threat of deportation | Farhat Khan from Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) talks about facing deportation with your children and how people should have the right to choose who to marry | Sheka Tarawalie an NUJ member talks about his anti-deportation campaign.
This demo follows a demonstartion at Colnbrook and Heathrow Detention centres last weekend and over 100 detainees on hunger strike.
Updates: 27th April: Some remain on hunger strike.
24th April: The hunger strike in Colnbrook seems to have ended [Timeline | Solidarity Page]. Meanwhile, around 20 Turkish Kurdish detainees in Harmondsworth began a hunger strike on 20 April.
17 April: About 25 detainees in Haslar have staged a peaceful protest in the courtyard early this afernoon and are still there, refusing to re-enter the building. There are also news that the hunger strike have spread to Tinsley House.
15 April: More than 120 detainees in Haslar detention centre, Protsmoth, have gone on hunger strike in protest againts arbitrary detention and in solidariety with the detainees in Colnbrook.
In protest at their inhumane treatment by security guards during the No Borders demonstration last Saturday (8th April, 2006), over 150 detainees in Colnbrook detention centre went on hunger strike. According to the latest updates, nearly 100 of them are still on indefinite hunger strike. A delegation from the Home Office is supposed to pay them a visit to hear their demands for release. [Strike update 17/04]
The hunger strikers have been subject to repression from Colnbrook’s management, with one detainee, deemed to be the "organiser" of the protest, having been locked in an isolation cell on Saturday night, then later removed to another detention centre.
Many of the people inside Colnbrook have been there for over 6 months, with some being detained for up to 3 years. There is no automatic bail review process for immigrants who are being detained. Last January, a detainee at Harmondsworth Detention Centre took his own life out of despair. Fellow detainees responded with a one-day hunger strike and a written statement about their conditions and treatment in detention.
On Thursday 13, a solidarity protest took place outside the Home Office building in central London [Report and Pics]. This had been urgently called by London No Borders and The Square Social Centre. On Satuday 15 No Borders fundraiser also took place in London. And on Thursday 20 Cardiff saw another solidarity demonstration called by the No Borders South Wales group.
Harmondsworth, 8 April 2006. Around 300 people from London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Brighton, Reading and Cardiff demonstrated at the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres near Heathrow to ensure that "those inside will hear our voices and know that they are not alone." The call out for the demonstration was made by London No Borders, the Campaign to Close Heathrow Detention Centres, London Against Detention, and The Square Occupied Social Centre in solidarity with the Noborder actions in Australia [see the NCADC report].
There was a large police presence and they prevented detainees and demonstrators from establishing a line of sight: the demo was not allowed to take place in the field where detainees could see it from their windows. Security guards also prevented detainees from accessing the centre's exercise yard and didn't even allow them to approach the windows. Some detainees were reportedly beaten up when they protested against these restrictions. In response, some 150 detainees in Colnbrook have gone on hunger strike [Read press release on updated situation in Colnbrook].
Many phone calls from detainees were passed on to the demonstrators via a small sound system. Former detainees also gave live testimonies of their own experience in detention [Sekindi's speech]. Meanwhile, about 40 people managed to make their way around the side of Colnbrook where detainees could see and hear them from the windows, and they spent a long time communicating with people inside, before being moved on by the police.
In Glasgow, around 300 asylum seekers, refugees, sans-papiers, Unity activists, and their supporters marched from the Home Office Reporting Centre in Ibrox to a rally in the Carnival Arts Centre in town calling for the right to work and an end to deportations. On Monday, 10th April, the All African Women's Group and other organisations protested outside Communications House in London in solidarity with international actions for immigration and asylum rights, and against detention.
In Manchester, a demo and rally [more] were held on 15 April under the slogan "Manchester: city of detention, destitution and deportation". On the same day, the offices of Ethiopian Airlines in London were targetted by anti-deportation activists. Their locks were glued and anti-deportation slogans were painted over their office and in the surrounding area.