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Cardiff: Timeline of anti-deportation resistance in support of the Saleh family (UK)

Update : Contrary to what the article states, and popular presumption, the family were in fact deported on the 8am flight. The son was beaten up twice on the flight to try to subdue his defiance. The daughter, Shroukie, is left in the UK separated from her family. Solidarity with the Saleh family and all migrants who fight for their dignity and freedom. No Borders – No Nations – Stop Deportations!

The Saleh family, Mr S and her two children, arrived in the UK in November 2007 after suffering 15 years of violence in Egypt. The whole family is now under serious threat of honour-based violence and possibly even death. They had a court hearing on 13th November to receive a fair hearing of their case, but this was completely ignored by UKBA.

The first attempt to deport the family was on the morning Thursday 18th October, which resulted in the family’s home being raided by UKBA officers in Cardiff and two activists being arrested for ‘obstructing UKBA officers’, one of which additionally charged with ‘obstruct pc’. While a call-out was made for supporters to attend Cardiff Bay police station, where the family were taken in order to be transfered to a coach for a flight later that day in London, others made their way to the motorway sliproad. What followed was an attempt to run down activists blockading the road.

The rest of the day was spent showing solidarity for the two arrested comrades, whilst others networked by all means possible calling for support nationally. The call out was well received, with texts, emails and messages circulated to target Egypt Air responsible for the comercial flight. This resulted in their helpline, reservation and effectively their ‘back-up’ telephone lines being clogged up and eventually disconnected, successful vandalism of their facebook wall, with a status update acknowledging the disruption to the attempted deportation.

Fortunately, due to a security mix-up, they were driven to a detention centre near Gatwick Airport called Ceders avoiding the 3pm commercial flight. As the good news spread, both activists were later released to a crowd of supporters outside, and the campaign to Save the Saleh Family grew.

By the morning, Friday 18th October, it had been noticed by many activists that UKBA offices, within General Building on Newport Road, had received half a dozen smashed windows –presumably in response to the attempted deportation of a loved and well-respected family within the community of Cardiff.

With a limit of 72 hours (3 days) to detain the family before deportation, and the weekend lacking flights to Eygpt, immigration minster Mark Harper authorised an extension of 7 days detention for the family; rather than extending their stay long enough for their court hearing on 13th November. A charter flight was then booked for the morning of Wednesday 24th. In response Mrs S slit her writs and the bathroom was flooded in blood. She wrote with the blood on the walls that she only wants to save her children.

What followed was an injunction granted by the judge responsible for the case the same evening, resulting in UKBA successfully persuading the judge to cancel the injunction – ignoring lawful procedure of appealing. However, anti-deportation activists had already mobilised from Wales and England to resist the deportation, meeting up overnight near Crawley in an attempt to blockade the detention centre where they were being held.

A massive police operation (see video), with more than 50 police vehicles, was then carried out involving police weilding batons and setting dogs on protesters. While one person was hospitalised, another managed to attach themself to the underside of a bus, effectively blocking the exit. The person who was under the bus was then cut off and arrested for aggravated trepass, while the coach was successfully delayed for 5 hours, resulting in the detaines missing their chartered 8am flight.

By the morning, supporters had gathered outside the police station where the arrestee was being held, while contact had been lost with the Saleh family. Due to lack of contact, and inability to resist another deportation due to the unknown location of the family, Mrs Saleh, Ibrahim and Lyal, were then deported the following morning, Thursday 25th.

That same morning, in Cardiff, it was noticed that UKBA had received increased damage to their property, including more broken windows and slogans spray-painted ‘No Borders’ and in Welsh ‘Dim Ffiniau’. Leaving no doubt in the minds of UKBA officers as to why their officers had been targeted.

A protest was organised by the Save Saleh Family Campaign on Saturday 27th October in Cardiff to protest the UKBA’s immoral and unjust removal of the Saleh family.

Solidarity with all migrants – resist deportations!

Also see: Punx at the UKBA.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 4:10 pm and is filed under No Borders.