Demo against new migrant prison in Sussex, 30/07/11

On Saturday 30th July activists from Croydon, Brighton, London and elsewhere followed a call from Croydon NoBorders and gathered in Hayward Heath, Sussex, to protest against the opening of a new detention centre for migrants in nearby Pease Pottage.

Walking through the town, distributing leaflets the protesters drew people's attention to the direct impact of European immigration policy on families in the UK. They occupied a roundabout with banners and leafleted all incoming cars, played music and engaged in discussions with passers-by. The demo finished outside the Mid Sussex Council offices, where planning permission was granted for the detention centre in March.

The detention centre (euphemistically known as "pre-departure accommodation") will focus on detaining families prior to being forcibly removed. G4S will run the centre even though they are currently under investigation for the corporate manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga. The contract for providing for children's 'welfare' has been awarded to Barnardo's. Their caring image has given the project an air or respectability, even though government commissioned studies reported on the deep trauma suffered by children from even short lengths of detention. The government itself had been forced to agree in June 2010 to ending child detention.

Louise Michel, one of the activists present on the demo, said: "We vow to continue our demonstrations against UKBA, Mid Sussex Council, G4S and Barnado's. Locking up children and their families is an abhorrence which must be stopped".

To complain directly about Barnardo's, click here.