Protests Spreading Across UK Detention Centres - Deportation Coach Blocked at Gatwick
By Rabble / rabble.org.uk

harmondsworth 9 march

Rebellion is spreading across the UK’s “gulag archipelago” of migration prisons.

Hunger strikes and yard occupations and other protests are now taking place in at least 6 UK detention centres. The protests started last week in Yarl’s Wood (Bedfordshire) and in the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook migration prison complex near Heathrow airport. (See previous reports here and here.)

50 people are reported to be on hunger strike in Tinsley House, with protests also at nearby Brook House, both inside the perimeter of Gatwick Airport. Hunger strike has also started at Moreton Hall (Nottinghamshire). There may well be others.

In Harmondsworth, some prisoners have now been on hunger strike for a week (picture above from Monday 9 March). See this video featuring interviews by phone with some of the people detained there. Also see the Detained Voices website which is receiving and spreading words from friends on the inside.

On Tuesday there were due to be three mass deportation flights of prisoners from UK detention centres to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Albania. In particular, it is known that a number of people deported to Afghanistan recently, particularly from ethnic minorities, have been killed or imprisoned and tortured by state and para-state forces upon arrival in the country.

There have also been solidarity noise demonstrations taking place every day outside Harmondsworth and other prisons. On Tuesday morning there were demos at the Home Office in Victoria at 10am, and then at both the Heathrow and Gatwick prison complexes in the afternoon.

Deportation coach blocked

At Brook House, Gatwick, people saw two coaches full of private security arrive around 3pm. As is common in deportation flights, the hired filth were from Tascor, the coaches from the Crawley based company WH Tours. The standard practice is for them to enter the detention centre and load up with prisoners, each person handcuffed to one screw, before heading off to an airport where a charter plane is waiting.

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Private security going in to Brook House

This time, around 6PM, as the coaches came back out of the prison, people managed to block the coach convoy and hold one up for a couple of hours, with one person superglued to the windscreen as the coach was stuck in the Gatwick periphery road. Such actions can obstruct deportation flights, potentially causing them to miss flight slots, or at least buying time for last minute legal challenges (as the system tries to rush people onto deportation flights without time to make their legal case, this can make a real difference.) We have heard that four people were arrested for this action.

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Coach blocked on Gatwick periphery road

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Protests Spreading Across UK Detention Centres - Deportation Coach Blocked at Gatwick