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Thousands protest around the world against immigration detention centres

#ShutThemDown

OVER 20 SIMULTANEOUS PROTESTS THROUGHOUT THE UK AND AROUND THE WORLD TO END IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTRES

THOUSANDS OF ACTIVISTS TOOK PART IN A COORDINATED TRANSNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH DETAINEES; 190 DETAINEES ON HUNGER STRIKE IN HARMONDSWORTH DETENTION CENTRES

A coalition of groups from the UK and around the world joined today (Saturday 7 May) a mass simultaneous protest in 15 detention centres, calling to end immigration detention centres. An international coalition joined forces with groups from all around the UK as well as groups from the US, Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, N. Ireland, Belgium, France and Italy. In the UK, thousands took part in the protest in solidarity with the 30,000 adults and children in detention. Protesters held demonstrations at St Pancras train station, held noise demonstration in various detention centres, flew kites so detainees can see them beyond the high walls, danced, sang songs and called for the immediate release of those held against their will without judicial oversight, a time limit, or adequate access to legal support, translation, and healthcare.

In Harmondsworth detention centre, 190 people announced a hunger strike as of today and refused to eat lunch, and 50 people have occupied the yard in protest. In Morton Hall, demonstrators came to support Fredrick Igbinedion, who has been on hunger strike for 13 days now. Igbinedion has been living in the UK since 2004 and has a 5 year old son here. According to reports from Morton Hall, he has already collapsed several times since starting his hunger strike.

A mother of a past detainee in Morton Hall spoke at the demonstration and said: “my son was detained four times. He was abused quite a lot. We are here today because we think that the way our asylum seekers are treated is inhumane, is wrong and is degrading”. People inside various detention centres reported today that this show of solidarity meant a lot to them, and in many demonstrations detainees were answering the protest with their own chanting in call for freedom.

AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC EYE: SELF-HARM, ABUSE AND TRAUMA

Every year, over 30,000 people – including children – are detained in high-security prisons without adequate access to legal advice, and with poor to non-existent health care provision. Detention centres rarely garner media attention: journalists are not permitted to visit people in detention, and people detained have limited internet access, and no access to cameras, making primary source materials nearly impossible to obtain. However, research reveals the tough conditions:

* 2,230 attempted suicides in UK detention centres since 2007
* 26 deaths across the UK detention since 1989
* Physical and sexual abuse by staff
* Bullying of LGBT detainees
* Increase risk for PTSD and mental health disability, particularly for people who suffered persecution in the past.
* Pregnant women, children, and survivors of torture are detained against the Home Office guidelines

In the UK, a growing number of detention centres are run by private companies such as G4S, Serco, and GEO, who profit from the imprisonment of people considered to be “illegal” by governments. Some detainees perform key maintenance jobs in the detention centres for merely for £1 per hour, making the running of the places more profitable for companies. Today a large coalition of organisations demands to stop this exploitative practice.

May 7th is part of a wider transnational campaign to shut down detention centres and end the system of immigration detention that criminalises and imprisons people simply because they have chosen or been forced to migrate. Actions also take place in solidarity with wider struggles against borders and migration controls and with people who are living in detention without walls, from Calais to Idomeni.

This day of action take place directly in organisation and solidarity with the very people who are currently detained, or who have lived experiences of detention and the actions they take daily to protest their imprisonment and deportation, such as yard occupations, hunger strikes, riots, and resistance to forced removals. We want to let people held inside detention centres know that their struggles are not unheard, that people on the outside are listening and want to come together in fighting against detention and deportation.

DEMONSTRATIONS WERE HELD AT:

* March through central London (UK)
* Dungavel detention centre (Scotland, UK)
* Morton Hall detention centre (Lincoln, UK)
* Yarl’s Wood detention centre (Bedfordshire, UK)
* Cedars detention centre (West Sussex, UK)
* Campsfield detention centre (Oxfordshire, UK)
* Brook House detention centre (Gatwick, UK)
* Tinsley House detention centre (Gatwick, UK)
* Harmondsworth detention centre (Middlesex, UK)
* Colnbrook detention centre (Middlesex, UK)
* The Verne detention centre (Dorset, UK)
* Larne House (Northern Ireland, UK)
* Detention centre near Schiphol Airport (The Netherlands)
* Reykjavik (Iceland)
* 127 bis detention centre (Steenokkerzeel, Belgium)
* Coquelles detention centre (near Calais, France)
* Märsta detention centre (Sweden)
* Larne House (Belfast, N. Ireland)
* Brennero (Italy)
* Parenesti (Greece)
* Exhibition at ex-detention centre (Frankfurt, Germany)
* Tacoma and Lynden detention centres (US)

THIS DAY OF PROTEST HAS BEEN CALLED FOR AND SUPPORTED BY GROUPS ACROSS BORDERS:
Movement for Justice, Leeds No Borders, We Will Rise, The Unity Centre, No Borders Iceland, SOAS Detainee Support, Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Brighton Migrant Solidarity, Campaign to Close Campsfield, Manchester Migrant Solidarity, Anarchist Group of Amsterdam, No Borders Sussex, Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary, Getting The Voice Out, Faites Votre Jeu!, No Borders Frankfurt, No One Is Illegal Stockholm, Borderline-Europe, Calais Migrant Solidarity, Anti Raids Network, No Borders Women and Non-binary folk, Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power, Detained Voices, Close the Verne, Shut Down Morton Hall, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Barbed Wire Britain, Migrant Rights Network, Right to Remain, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, No Deportations-Residence Papers for All, Welcome to Hungary, SOS Racismo Madrid, Aktion Mot Deportation, All African Women’s Group, Payday, Women Against Rape, Women of Colour in Global Women’s Strike Fight Racism Fight Imperialism Edinburgh Migrants Solidarity Network Abbattere Le Frontiere

FOR STORIES, EXPERIENCES, AND DEMANDS BY PEOPLE HELD IN UK DETENTION CENTRES: http://detainedvoices.com

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 11:04 pm and is filed under No Borders.