The four migrants accused of "conspiracy to commit violent disorder" during the Harmondsworth uprising in 2006 were today found not guilty. Relying on a clearly insufficiently indoctrinated jury, the attempt to single out and punish few individuals with violent criminal convictions and long sentences has been thwarted. Of course, all four have already served one year and three months in prison, on top of varying times in immigration detention. Now they will have to resume their struggle against the immigration system, which imprisoned them for seeking refuge in the first place, and will most probably be dispersed around Britain's detention estate until their cases are 'resolved'.Today the Support the Harmondsworth Four Campaign held a protest outside Sodexho's London headquarters. There had been a solidarity protest outside the court every Monday [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5].
Background: letter from two of the Harmondsworth 4 to Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! | 'Report of the Investigation into the disturbances at Harmondsworth and Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centres', Robert Whalley | Chief Inspectors of Prison Report on Harmondsworth Immigration Removal CentreRead more >>
2007 is witnessing a resurgence of No Border Camps around the world as three Camps have been announced. The first one took place in Ukraine in mid August [Pics] and another one is announced at the US/Mexico border for November. But close to home, this week the UK sees the first No Border camp near Gatwick airport. Despite weeks of constant harassment of local farmers by the police, the Camp got under way as planned with several hundred people attending workshops and discussions, and taking part in actions and demonstrations throughout the week.
The No Border Camp sought "to try and stop the building of the new detention centre, and to gather ideas for how to build up the fight against the system of migration controls". The Camp progaramme consisted of four days of workshops, protests and discussions. Various actions were announced for the week, including a Transnational Demonstration on Saturday 22nd from Crawley to the site of Brook House attended by around 500 people. Brook House is planned to be Britain's largest detention centre for migrant people, and it is being build next door to Tinsley House. Another solidarity march took place in Newcastle. There were several actions also happening during the camp on Thursday and Friday. These included the occupation of Virgin Atlantic tour operator offices and a blockade outside Group 4 near Crawley, a welcoming event in Crawley as well as demonstrations outside Lunar and Electric houses reporting centres in Croydon.
Saturday 22nd: Timeline of Events | Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Pics: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Video | Press Releases: 1 | 2
Friday 21st: Timeline of Events | Reports: 1 | 2 | Pics 1 | 2 | Video | Press Releases: 1 | 2 | 3
Thursday 20th: Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Pics | Video
Wednesday 19th:: report | report and pics | pics
2007 is witnessing a resurgence of No Border Camps, which were instrumental to the No Border movement from the late 1990's onwards. Three No Border camps for 2007 have recently been announced. The first will be in the Ukraine at the intersection of five countries and at the border of Fortress Europe. In September, it is the turn of our very own Gatwick airport, where the government is planning to build yet another prison for migrants. Finally, in November, there will be another No Border camp at the Mexico/US border, where every year hundreds of migrants die trying to cross the desert or at the hands of the vigilante 'border police', the Minutemen.Read more >>
Over 100 people held a lively protest in Crawley, West Sussex, on 21 April, 2007, against a new planned detention centre nearby. The protest, called by the No Borders network in the UK, aimed to show opposition to the new purpose-built Immigration Removal Centre (as it's called by the government) which is being built at Gatwick Airport. The new prison for asylum seekers will have a capacity of 420 places for male and female detainees and is another step in the Labour government's efforts to meets its target of 4,000 places in detention centres throughout the country.
The demonstration, which was mainly made of two large groups from Brighton and London, marched through Crawley town centre in the high of Saturday's shopping spree. Many leaflets were given out, informing locals about the reasons for the demonstration, whilst pointing out the fact that a new concentration camp for innocent people is about to be built on their doorsteps. Policing was relatively low but the level of surveillance and 'information gathering' was incredibly high and intimidating.Read more >>
For the third time in less than two years, a 'charter flight' left the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire today, carrying a number of Iraqi Kurds to Erbil, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The 38 'failed asylum seekers' had been arrested and detained from across the UK.
Some 60 protesters gathered at the gates of Brize Norton this morning, in a protest called by the Campaign to Close Campsfield. It followed other protests over the weekend in London, Leicester and Manchester [reports from Harmondsworth demo 1 | 2 | pics 1 | 2 | 3 | video]. But neither these protests nor the repeated warnings from national and international human rights organisations [UNHCR | Amnesty] managed to convince the Home Office of halting forced removals to unsafe Iraq.Read more >>
Frustrated at being detained in awful prison-like conditions, often for long periods, the detainees of Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow, have 'gone wild'. Around 10pm on 28 November, 2006, a group of detainees started a riot in Wing B after a guard switched off the TV preventing them from watching a report about Harmondsworth, and it soon spread to all 4 wings. Some detainees have reportedly been beaten up, while others were kept locked in, with fires and smoke all over the place [reports and updates]. 'Specialist officers' from prisons across the south of England were brought in to help the prison and immigration services 'contain the situation'. Everything is 'under control' now, according to the Home Office [John Reid Invokes Riechstag Fire Tactics For Detention Centre Fire]. For further information click at the Full article link above.
Several calls to protest have been made to show solidarity with those struggling inside the detention centres. On Friday, 1st of December No Borders London called for a solidarity demonstration outside London's headquarters of Kalyx, the private company that runs the detention centre. Around 80 people joined the protest [pics]. Barbed Wire Britain also called for a demonstration at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres near Heathrow airport on Sunday 3rd December, when over 80 people gathered near to the gates of the detention centres [Reports and Pics 1 | 2] London FRFI also staged a protest on Tuesday 5th December outside London's Communications House immigration reporting centre.
Related: Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre 'Not fit for Purpose' | Noborders Demo at Harmondsworth Detention Centre | Harmondsworth Detainees Protest after Death in Detention | Severe riot at Harmondsworth refugee removal centre (2004) | Hunger Strike in Colnbrook Detention Centre | Voices From Detention | Asylum Statistics: Q3 2006 | Continuing conflicts that create refugees | Why campaign against deportation | The truth behind the deportation statistics | Asylum Seekers get an early xmas present | Gay refugees abused at UK detention centre | Babar Ahmad to appeal to Lords against extradition | Singing Session at Campsfield House Detention Centre | Glasgow: 6 Kids Abducted in 2 Days.Read more >>
"For Freedom of Movement and the Right to Stay"
Today, Saturday October 7th 2006, a march through London is calling on migrants, asylum seekers and their friends, families and colleagues to act together against the criminalization of migrants and the denial of their rights; with the intention to build a transnational movement to change conditions for the better.Read more >>
32 Iraqi asylum seekers, who had been incarcerated in different detention centres, were deported to Arbil, northern Iraq, on 5 September, 2006, on a specially chartered flight from the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire. There was a demonstration at the Home Office in London, called by the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, but that did not apparently stop the process, and neither did the warnings from international organisations [1 | 2 | 3] or the legal challenges.
The first forced deportation of Iraqi Kurds from the UK took place on 19 November, 2005. 15 men were taken to an airport at night, handcuffed, beaten and forced onto a military plane headed for Arbil through Cyprus. The move then sparked a lot of anger and protest [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5], and the deportation of Iraqis was halted for a while until resumed this month. Tens of Iraqi Kurds are believed to be interned in UK detention centres, while thousands more have been served notice that they will be 'removed' from the country [latest report].Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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