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Another week of the election, another week of scapegoating migrants equals another week in which the deportation machine strides on; imprisoning men, women and children before deporting them to wherever is most expedient. The mainstream political parties' rhetoric surrounding immigration has become less and less distinguishable from that of the BNP. They point their fingers at migrants, positioning one group of oppressed and marginalised people as the cause of the dispossession of other groups.
This anti-migrant discourse is further developed by the mainstream press - including the Nottingham Evening Post - who seek to flog their rags with sensational headlines which blame migrants for all of society’s ills, unwilling or unable to develop a broader analysis.
Meanwhile, resistance continues in the form of migrant protests within the detention estate and solidarity attacks on the companies profiting from running migrant prisons, such as Serco.
Newswire: Serco goverment buildings attacked | Bristol: Serco van tourched | Serco goverment service office attacked in London | London protest at Serco over Yarlswood assaults | Hunger Strike @ Yarlswood | Women in Yarlswood vow to stay on hunger strike | Call for a European Week of Action against the deportation machine | NSPM Peace Conference Politics of Migration
Campaigners are mobilising to make a final attempt to stop the deportation of Brian, Chelsea and their mother Selina Adda to Ghana
Selina Adda a national of Ghana and her two children aged five and nine years, residents of Nottingham for the last five years; are currently detained in Yarl's Wood IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Wednesday 27th January 2010 @ 14:50 on British Airways flight BA0081 to Accra.
Their asylum claim and all further legal avenues have been rejected.
Update (27/01/10): Selina and family have not been deported! See article for info.
Previous features Anti-deportation campaign for Notts family
On Saturday 18th April, the ex-patriate Zimbabwe Community from around the UK, came together to discuss the ‘Death of Democracy’ in their country. The gathering was held in Nottingham at the Hyson Green Youth Centre.
The NZCN (Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network) organized and hosted the event. Most attendees dressed in black to remember and honour the hundreds of Zimbabweans who have been murdered during the MDC’s struggle for democracy. Guest speakers included MDC activists still working and striving towards a new, free and safe Zimbabwe.
Event Photos: ‘Death of Democracy’ Gathering
Links: No Borders Nottingham | Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network | Zimbabwe Civic Action Support Group | Association of Zimbabwean Journalists in the UK (AZJ-UK) | Zimbabwe Association Ltd | Operation Mavhoterapapi (how did you vote) - Post-election violence [pdf 5.2M]
On Saturday, a lively and well attended demonstration and die in in the centre of Nottingham brought two successful local campaigns together. Shut Down H&K, campaigners against Nottingham's arms dealers joined hands with No Borders Nottingham, who fight for migrant rights, to come 'full circle'. The demonstration emphasised the links between guns sold in the UK, armed conflicts abroad and the refugees that flee these wars to come to Britain looking for asylum.
The demonstrators gave out 2000 fliers to Christmas shoppers making them aware of the whereabouts of Heckler & Koch's premises in Lenton and the death and destruction their merchandise causes. Refugees and asylum seekers from many countries ravaged by the effects of small arms were there to support the demo. Protesters held a die in on the cold pavements, undeterred by the over the top police surveillance. Many members of the public were shocked to hear about the arms dealers in their neighbourhood.
Newswire: Full Circle Demo: From weapons to wars to refugees. Market Sq. Nottingham | Next Small Word Cinema @ Sumac 10th December | FULL CIRCLE - from weapons to wars to refugees | Demos continue at Heckler & Koch weapons HQ in Nottingham
Previous Features: The Arms Trade: From Nottingham to Georgia | Protests in Nottingham as Zimbabwe Goes to the Polls | Protesters Return to Nottingham Weapons Manufacturer | Campaign Victories As Hich And Amdani Are Released On Bail
The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity in anti-deportation campaigns in the city. Neither Selina Adda's family or Mustafa have been deported, although their statuses are still uncertain. Selina and family are back in Nottingham to continue their campaign for the right to stay. Mustafa remains in detention whilst fresh representations to the Home Office are considered.
It has also been announced that Nottingham refugee Amdani Juma's Judicial Review of his case is approaching. The Friends of Amdani are holding a rally in support of his right to stay on Saturday.
Newswire: Demonstrate for Amdani Juma's right to stay | Amdani Juma: No Let up in Local Support as Hearing Date Set | URGENT - Stop the deportation of Mustafa! | Mustafa Belongs to Nottingham | Amdani's Judicial Review | Sanctuary for Brian, Chelsea & Selina
A popular family from Wilford had their home raided by immigration police on Monday. Brian, Chelsea and their mother Selina Adda from Ghana are now being held in Yarl's Wood IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Friday 3rd October on British Airways flight BA81 @ 14:15hrs from terminal 5 Heathrow to Accra, Ghana.
Selina came to the UK seeking asylum from a forced marriage to a man from another culutre in Ghana. Her sister recently committed suicide and she has no remaining friends and family in Ghana. The family's friends and asylum campaigners have begun a campaign to ensure that they stay in Nottingham.
Newswire: Sanctuary for Brian, Chelsea & Selina
On Friday June 27, Zimbabwe went to the polls in the second round of its presidential election. This followed a first round in March. Concerned about the scale of state-directed violence against supporters, the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn on Sunday June 22, making a victory by the incumbent Robert Mugabe inevitable.
In Nottingham, the election was marked by the recently formed Nottingham Zimbabwe Community network (NZCN) who held a protest against deportations to Zimbabwe in Old Market Square and organised a public meeting at the Sumac Centre to discuss the situation in the country.
Previous Feature: Nottingham's Zimbabwean Community Responds to Rigged Elections
Links: Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network | No Borders Nottingham | Nottingham & Notts Refugee Forum | Nottingham Refugee Campaign Ground | National Coalition of Anti-Deportation campaigners | Notts Indymedia Migration topic page
By coincidence, the immigration bail hearings of two high profile Nottingham detainees took place on Monday 16th June. The hearings, conducted via video links from Dover Citadel (for Hicham Yezza) and Campsfield House in Oxfordshire (for Amdani Juma) both ended with the defendants being released while they fight their respective immigration cases.
Previous Features: Nottingham Protests in Support of Detained Resident | Another Nottingham Activist Detained For Deportation | Hundreds Join Demo for Academic Freedom and Against Deportation | Nottingham Uni Detainee Innocent But Still Facing Deportation | Anger Over "Terror Arrests" at Nottingham University
Links: Free Hich | Friends of Amdani | National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns | No Borders Nottingham | Nottingham & Notts Refugee Forum | Nottingham Refugee Campaign Group | Notts Indymedia Migration Topic Page
The detention and imminent deportation of Amdani Juma, a well-known and widely liked local activist, has generated considerable anger in Nottingham. There have been two well attended demonstrations in the Market Square, one on Saturday 31 May and a second on Monday 2 June. The latter was particularly successful at generating media interest, going out live on Central News.
The anger felt by many at Amdani's detention was only compounded by police intimidation of participants in the first demonstration that they should have sought permission and would be expected to do so for the second. This suggests a worrying ignorance of the law on the part of the Sergeant 2471. He told protesters that Section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 required that they obtain permission for any assemblies, despite the fact that that section clearly relates only to processions and marches and not to static assemblies. When it came to it, the police presence on Monday evening was minimal, although a Community Protection Officer with a CCTV camera attached to his head was prominently visible.
Newswire: A message from Amdani in Lindholme detention centre | Demo to support Amdani Juma, Nottingham activist, at risk of deportation - Pics | It is OUR square and it is OUR right to protest in it whenever we want | A demonstration in support of Amdani Juma Saturday 31st May @ 12.30
Photos: Demo to support Amdani Juma, Nottingham activist, at risk of deportation - Saturdays Pics | Demo to support Amdani Juma, activist, at risk of deportation - Mondays Pics | CPO's with HeadCam, at protests against deportation of Amdani Juma
Over the last week, the deportation of Hicham Yezza, now stayed to allow for a judicial review, has attracted a huge amount of attention. Whilst the circumstances surrounding Hich's initial arrest were unusual, in an increasingly anti-migrant political climate, the horrific way he has been treated by immigration authorities is all too common.
Amdani Juma, a Nottingham activist and a survivor from Burundi but whose appeal for Indefinite Leave to Remain was turned down by the Home Office on 5th December, was detained whilst reporting at Loughborough reporting centre on 30th May. He remains in detention and has received notice that his removal is set for Wednesday 4th June on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 (Terminal 4, Heathrow). Amdani's case has previously been reported on the Refugee Forum website.
Tragically, Amdani is not the only asylum seeker to have been abducted by the authorities this week. Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum volunteer Jane Mary Mutets, was detained at Bridewell Police Station on Thursday 29th May. Concerned supporters fear she will also face deportation and expect her to be moved elsewhere by immigration authorities.
Newswire: Amdani Juma: Press Release | A demonstration in support of Amdani Juma Saturday 31st May @ 12.30 | Amdani detained, Jane-Mary detained yesterday | Nottingham Celebrates Mayday with Moazzam Begg | Sponsor Amdani Juma, Walking for Leicestershire AIDS Support | Jane Mary Mutetsi and Felicia Sakwe still here! | Jane Mary Mutetsi belongs to Nottingham
On Wednesday May 28, students and academics held at protest at the University of Nottingham in defence of academic freedom and against the imminent deportation of former student and university staff member Hicham Yezza. The protest was called following the "anti-terror" arrests which saw Hicham and Rizwaan Sabir, a student acquaintance, detained for almost a week for possession of documents Sabir had downloaded as part of his research into political Islam. After it became clear on Friday May 23 that Hicham was facing imminent deportation, the focus of the protest inevitably shifted.
At 2pm there was a public reading of the "radical materials" which had led to the original arrest. The crowd was addressed by Alan Simpson MP before marching down to the Trent Building (where the university autorities are based) where people assembled in near total silence.
Hicham Yezza, one of the two men who were arrested at Nottingham University under the Terrorism Act 2000 on Wednesday 14th May is facing imminent deportation. Both men were released without charge after having been detained for 7 days. But Hicham, a 30-year old member of university staff and non-British national was immediately re-arrested under immigration legislation.
This is clearly a politically motivated action to try and kill the story of the original arrests to cover up the initial embarrassment. This is an attempt to circumvent the criminal justice system and push him out of the country without the usual court process. He has now been moved to a detention centre and faces deportation on Sunday 1st June. Hicham is well-known, widely liked and active on campus. Students, lecturers and the wider community have started mobilising to stop his deportation. See report and pics of the demonstration for academic freedom and against Hicham Yezza's deportation that took place in Nottingham University on the 28th May.
Audio: as featured in #5 the June Show ~ Riseup! Radio
Newswire: Comment on University Communication on Recent Events | University of Nottingham Graduate and Employee Facing Imminent Deportation Without Hearing | Notts Uni detainee innocent but still facing deportation
Website: Stop the Deportation of Hicham Yezza
Mayday has been celebrated in one form or another for thousands of years. Pagans marked the day as the end of the hardships of winter. Following the struggle amongst American workers for the eight hour day and the murder by the US state of four anarchists involved in that struggle in 1886, the day has come to be marked as International Workers' Day.
In Nottingham this year, there were two Mayday events, both organised by the Mayday Organising Committee, an off-shoot of the Nottingham Refugee Campaign Group. As has happened for the past few years, there was a march and rally, starting and ending at the Brewhouse Yard on the Saturday May 3. The second event was a public meeting held on May 1 itself, addressed by local asylum seeker Amdani Juma and former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg.
On March 29 Zimbabwe went to the polls. The election was widely criticised with accusations of vote rigging, state orchestrated media bias and violent intimidation of opposition activists. The outcome was generally considered a foregone conclusion, which would have little to do with the opinions of most Zimbabweans and early indications are that these concerns were well placed, although events now seem to have taken a more complicated turn.
In Nottingham the Zimbabwean community used the election to draw attention to the situation in their country and camapaign against the threat of deportation which many Zimbabwean asylum seekers face. They organised a meeting at the Sumac Centre on March 28 and held at protest at Nottingham's new speakers corner on March 28.
Previous Features: Refugees In Need Of Community Protection? | Situation in the Congo is worsening as deportations continue | Nottingham Protest against Deportations to Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) :: Pictures
Asylum seekers, refugees, trade unionists and supporters from all over the North marched from the Home Office in Sheffield to Lindholme Detention centre near Doncaster between 26-28th October. The marchers were demanding "The right to work for asylum seekers" and stating that "Seeking asylum is not a crime." They finished at Lindholme immigration removals centre, the nearest such centre to Nottinghamshire, where asylum seekers are often held without having committed any criminal offence. The demonstration there on Sunday 28th was joined by supporters from Nottingham.
A rally was held at the fence of Lindholme and the marchers could hear detainees inside chanting in response to them. A candlelit vigil for those who'd died in detention centres was held and speakers from many countries, including the Congo, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, Iraq and South Africa spoke. The demonstration is the latest in a series of protests at Lindholme making the demand to "Shut Down Lindholme!"
Links: "Dignity Not Detention" March on Lindholme | Photos from the start of the "Dignity Not Detention" march on Lindholme | The start of the "Dignity Not Detention" march on Lindholme (Pitsmoor) | Dignity Not Detention! march arrives at Lindholme | Dignity Not Detention! leaflet (pdf)
Previously at Lindholme: No Borders demonstration at Lindholme Immigration Removals Centre | Lindholme Noise Demo Photos | 10 Lindholme Detainees still free | Detainees held in 'filthy' conditions, Lindholme, nr Doncaster
In Notts: Nottingham demo called against deportation charter flight to DR Congo | Nottingham Congolese Community demonstrated against continued deportations | No Borders Nottingham 'National Day of Action on Asylum Rights' | Mayday in Nottingham (Round Two)
No Borders Nottingham held up its end of a National Day of Action for Refugees with a stall in the Market Square accompanied by the No Borders banner, today sharing the Square with the Farmers’ Market and a City Council awareness day for Fostering of children. For No Borders, it was a good opportunity to have conversations with passersby about the dire situation facing asylum seekers living in Nottingham and Notts, many who have been made destitute because of Home Office decisions to withdraw housing and money for food, or that their countries are safe to return to in spite of their experiences of torture and severe repression, or other fears of returning such as deaths of members of their family and friends.
Leaflets were handed out answering questions people might have about asylum seekrs, and showing what groups like No Borders, Nottingham & Notts Refugee Forum (including Campaign and Food groups), Refugee Action and others are doing to improve this situation in spite of the difficulties. However, in what is no doubt becoming a tiresome story for some on Notts Indymedia, little more than 10 minutes after setting up stall we were approached to ‘move on’ by Community Protection Officers (numbered NW9963 and NW9944).
Links: No Borders Nottingham
On the newswire: Nottingham Refugee Week 2007 - 16th–24th June | National Weekend of Action For Refugees / 11 events - 19th May 2007 | Situation in the Congo is worsening as deportations continue | Demonstration against Congo deportations 12.04.07 | Our Square Isn't it? | Reclaim the Square! - Summer picnic
On Wednesday March 28th, people gathered on the Market Square to protest continued deportations to the Democratic Republic of Congo. After a while the protesters walked across town to Bridewell Police Station (next to the Magistrates Court) and made their feeling know about government policies. The Home Office plans to deport more Congolese people from the UK in spite of evidence that it is not only still unsafe for them to return but that the situation is worsening. In Leicester over 60 turned out in a demonstration. Other cities where protests happened simultaneously were London, Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester.
In March a United Nations report described the situation there as ‘deteriorating’. The Bishop of Winchester objected recently in the Lords to government claims that the country was now safe, noting that every independent organisation with first-hand experience finds ministerial assurances of safety “simply incredible”. He said that the Country Guidance Case on March 28th, at which the situation could be re-evaluated by the government, “will hear fresh evidence of ill-treatment, torture and rape of returned refugees, both at the airport and at associated holding centres”. Asylum seekers in Nottingham need your help in putting pressure on the government to admit that its deportation policy is wrong.
From the newswire: Nottingham demo against deportations to Congo (photos) | Nottingham (and Leicester) demos against deportations to Congo (photos) | Stop Deportation to the Congo
As Britain continues the 2007 celebration of 'Abolition 200', the legal end of Britain's official involvement in trans-Atlantic slave trading, and with most eyes on the main slave trade ports like Bristol and Liverpool, our local councils seem quite unconcerned about direct or indirect involvement with the profits of slavery in Notts and East Midlands, and seem happy just to leave local churches to do the soul searching. Let's ask some questions...
An easy example of Notts involvement in slavery is the well-known Mellish family, whose name is probably best associated in local minds with a Nottingham school. The family is known to have had involvement with ownership and official dealings with plantation estates in the West Indies in the 18th century. Even a cursory look at the Mellish family online archive record reveals inheritance of slave plantation estate property from the governor of the Bahamas (John Tinker), and we can read about William Mellish's official dealings with plantation monies in Jamaica as Receiver General for the Customs & Excise (he was also MP for Retford).
Links: The Mellish and Buchanan Families of Blyth and Hodsock - A Brief History | The Nottingham Sparrow, Nottingham AF | 'Slavery - the Hidden History', Bristol Radical History Group | Anti-slavery march demands reparations for slave trade
Update: (14/10/06) Mr Al-Mugrabhi is still being detained at Dover Detention Centre, his family have been released from Yarls Wood Removal Centre, but it is feared he will still be deported very soon. A new petition has been started to stop his deportation and try to secure his release. Download, print and distribute!
The father of a family from Aspley, Nottingham is still being held in dentention in Dover and threatened with deportation after the rest of the family were released from Yarlswood Removal Centre near Bedford on Tuesday. Local activists jumped into action following a dawn raid by 12 officers last week to secure the release of the family. Officers forced entry into the property and arrested the family including 2 children and a baby. The raid happened at around 5.30am on Wednesday 4th October. Children as well as staff at Roslyn Park School in Aspley were shocked by the news. Two of the families children have been at the school for over 5 years.
Related articles: Glasgow - Dawn Raid Vans are Being Detained | Birmingham Women 'rescued' by police from massage parlour to be deported | Benmira Family belong to Leeds | Glasgow - Asylum Seeker Action Prevents Removal
Nottingham Refugee Campaign Group have organised a protest in solidarity with refugees on Saturday 09th September from 1pm - 2pm at St Peters Gate Nottingham. How would YOU get from here to Loughborough with no money? That is what many asylum seekers are now being forced to do!
From the 4th September, Asylum seekers who receive NO MONEY and are NOT ALLOWED TO WORK are being required to report to a new Immigration Reporting Centre in Loughborough (instead of reporting here at the central police station).
Come and join the protest and show your solidarity
Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday for a day of talks, information, discussion and workshops on the theme of peace.
The Nottingham Students Peace Movement's conference welcomed Sam Azad (International Federation of Iranian Refugees), author Milan Rai and Alan Simpson MP to lead a discussion on "justice not vengeance." They were followed by lecturers Richard Keeble and Beryl Aldridge and Notts Indymedia's Wietse talking about combating media bias. Both sessions welcomed extensive audience contributions. Various workshops were later held on alternative media, creative campaigning, civil rights and black activism.
Update: Ali has been temporarily released pending judicial review of his case. Read article.
Ali was being held in Campshill House detention centre in Oxford. He now has his medication. He has been released and soon the battle starts to sort out his case and find enough evidence to keep him in Britain.
Around 30 people protested the illegal deportation of 20-year-old Afghani refugee Ali Noori at Nottingham Magistrates Court on the morning of March 2. He has been told about the demo and could not believe it at first, but wants to send his thanks and gratitude to everyone who came out on such a cold day.
>> Event photos
Saturday 8th October 11am - 5pm, at Nottingham Playhouse; A festival day celebrating the work of artists in exile across the region and the launch of an East Midlands refugee artist network: Long Journey Home. The day will include theatre, music, song, poetry, film, exhibitions, food, crafts and free workshops.
In '1001 Nights Now', a new play by Northern Stage, leading writers of Middle Eastern origin revisit the story of Sheherazade, exposing with insight, colour and with the lives of people who seek refuge. It's on at Nottingham Playhouse, Friday 30 September - Saturday 15 October, and meet some NNRF supporters in the foyer. Click here for details and check out the weblog to see how rehearsals are going.
Desperate to reach his targets, the home secretary is abducting Iraqi asyslum seekers to detention centres for return to Iraq. This goes against UNHCR advice that "failed" asylum seekers should not be sent back to Iraq, either forceably or by inducement, because the country is unstable and dangerous. A protest in support of those who face deportation...
Current: Nottingham Refugee Forum | UNHCR Advice on Iraq | Twice a week, gathering at Point of Disappearance | Iraq Unravels, article by Ranjan Chaudhuri, Nottingham Friends of the Iraqi People (NFIP) | Electronic Iraq (non-corporate news service from Iraq) | Another protest is planned in Sheffield on 27th Sep
On Monday July 25th or Tuesday 26th, young failed asylum seekers from Afghanistan will be put on a charter plane at one of the London airports. The charter will then travel to Paris, pick up more young failed asylum seekers from Afghanistan in France for onward transit to Kabul. At least 60 Afghans are expected to be on board.Reports by Lille Indymedia tell of widespread repression in the form of mass arrests and detention of Afghani refugees since July 14th ahead of the chartered flight. According to Lille Indymedia, a significant number of Afghani refugees have attempted to flee France to seek sanctuary in England. There are also reports of a hunger strike by 51 detained Afghanis that has since been broken up by the French authorities.