Campaigners blockade Heathrow detention centres to stop Iraq deportation

21st June 2011
For immediate release

Anti-deportation campaigners are blockading Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres in a last-minute attempt to stop the forcible deportation of Iraqi refugees to Baghdad on a specially chartered flight scheduled to leave London this evening.

30 angry protesters from No Borders, Stop Deportation and other groups are blocking the joint entrance to the two detention centres near Heathrow airport. Six of them have encased their arms in glass and plastic tubes attached to concrete barrels, while others are holding banners and shouting slogans against the 'brutal deportation machine.'

Three coaches carrying over 30 of the deportees to the airport have not
been able to leave the complex. Another 30 are supposed to be taken at the same time from Brook House detention centre at Gatwick airport and Campsfield House in Oxfordshire. In total, it is expected that the flight, scheduled to leave an undisclosed airport at 11pm today, will carry
between 60 and 70 deportees, accompanied by twice as many private security guards and immigration officers.

Update at 8.30pm

Currently 5 Reliance vans are in the Colnbrook/Harmondsworth complex preparing to transport the detainees out of the rear entrance of the complex. It is unclear where these detainees will be taken.

It is understood that the Immigration Advisory Service has obtained an injunction against the flight but it is unknown whether this applies to some or all of the potential deportees.

The blockade of the front entrance continues. Police are now on the scene.

Final update, 9pm

Great news! It has been confirmed that this evening's charter flight has
been cancelled.

The blockade has now finished and none of the blockaders have been arrested.

Hunger Strike in Campsfield ended

The hunger strike at Camsfield, which began on the evening of Sunday 1 August, ended yesterday morning, Monday 9 August.

see also: Hunger strike at Campsfield immigration prison | Inside Campsfield Detention Centre | Second Statement by Detainees in Campsfield | Campaign to close Campsfield

Inside Campsfield Detention Centre

Report from visitors to a detainee on Wednesday afternoon 4 August 2010 :

BC [the detainee] affirmed that some 180 detainees in Campsfield are standing together in the hunger strike.

He also affirmed that organisers had made clear to everyone that any kind of violent behaviour such as breaking windows, damaging property or attempting to break out would not be tolerated. Their action was directed at the manifold injustice of the Asylum and Immigration system and to get a proper response from its authorities in the Ministry and Government.

Solidarity demonstration with Campsfield Hungerstrikers

The Campaign to close Campsfield calls for a Vigil/demonstration at 7pm Monday 9 August outside Campsfield Detention Centre to show solidarity with the detainees who are refusing meals to protest their detention.

more information about the current protest inside Campsfield: 1 | 2


Second Statement by Detainees in Campsfield

Detainees in Campsfield detention centre have issued another statement on their protest . 147 detainees are currently protesting by refusing meals at Campsfield immigration removal centre.
We appreciate all the effort and support we have received.
Today we continue to fight for our rights, today, all we detainees will continue to fight for liberty and security which is our fundamental rights.
It is unbelievable that a country so great that advocates human rights and liberty, eradicated slavery still practice such inhumane treatment of humans with equal rights in its backyard with the expectation that the whole world would be unaware of these treacherous nature adhered by the institutions.

Hunger strike at Campsfield immigration prison, 02/08/10

Some detainees at Campsfield immigration prison near Oxford have been on hunger strike since the evening of Tuesday 2nd August. Here is the statement that they released, entitled "Unlawful Detention of Detainees":

147 detainees are staging a protest by refusing meals at Campsfield immigration removal centre. The protest erupted as a result of the treatment of detainees in detention centres especially for people who have been detained for a long period of time. We continue to refuse meals indefinitely for our voices to be heard.

Close Campsfield! 16th "anniversary" demo Sat 28th Nov

On 25th November 1993, two minibuses brought the first detainees from Harmondsworth, Heathrow, to Campsfield, near Oxford. Demonstrators at the gate protested.