Newcastle protest in solidarity with Yarl's WoodTagged as: gender migration
Members of No Borders North East unfurled a banner from a rooftop in Newcastle city center this morning (6th March 2010). They were showing their support for the women from Yarl's Wood detention center, who have been on hunger strike for several weeks, and demanding an end to immigration detention.
Strike Spreads: Up to 55 detainees have also been refusing food for the last four days in Harmondsworth detention centre.
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11am 6th of Marth: A huge banner was dropped from the rooftops of the busy Eldon Square shopping center, in the centre of Newcastle. A group of Newcastle residents, part of the No Borders network, went to great heights to show their solidarity with the women detainees at Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre, who have been on hunger strike since 5th February 2010. The hunger strike, which initially involved some 84 women, was sparked by detainees demanding the end of the humiliating and unjust detention of migrants who seek refuge in Britain. Since their strike began, the women have endured further violence and mistreatment.
The Newcastle protestors were demanding the immediate release of the Yarl's Wood women and an end to the unjust, arbitrary detention system of the UK Border Agency. They began their protest on the roof of Eldon Square, creating a spectacular sight for passing shoppers, while leaflets were handed out in the square below. Members of the public were shocked to hear about the treatment of the women, which has had surprisingly little press coverage. However, the protestors were moved on by heavy-handed security. They continued their protest within the shopping centre, but were forcibly moved by four security guards, who used aggressive tactics and personal insults before dragging two of the protestors out of the centre, kicking one of the protestors in the back of the legs as they did so.
Similar protests have taken place around the country since the hunger strikes began, as people realize the abominable practices of Immigration officials, and private companies such as Serco which are making profits out of the misery of migrants. Every year, thousands of innocent people, including torture and rape survivors, people with serious illnesses and over 2,000 children, are detained arbitrarily and indefinitely in detention centers across the UK, for the sole reason that they do not have the correct papers. Without access to legal representation or automatic right to bail, migrants are criminalized, further traumatized and imprisoned though they have committed no crime and have been sentenced without trial.
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