Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Yarl's Wood Demonstration March 21st

On Saturday 21 March London No Borders, Campaign Against Immigration Controls, SOAS Detainee Support Group, No-one is Illegal, Campaign To Stop Arbitrary Detention at Yarl’s Wood, Campaign to Close Campsfield, Legal Action for Women, All African Women's Group and Barbed Wire Britain Network to End Detention have called a demonstration at Yarl's Wood IRC calling for an end to immigration detention.

Yarl's Wood is one of 7 IRC's run by private companies for profit in this country and is currently run by Serco under an £87m contract. In May 2007 (just a month after Serco took over there) women detainees, many of them single mothers, began a hunger strike in response to new measures being introduced by the company. At its height, there were over 100 people refusing food, including a number of children.

The women's 15 demands were:

* Release from detention
* No lock up
* No punishment or retribution against those protesting or on hunger strike.
* Proper access to legal information
* Respect for privacy and the end to male guards entering cells without warning
* An end to violence from staff
* The dismissal of sexist and racist staff
* The right to keep mobiles
* An investigation into money sent by relatives and supporters which disappeared.
* A reinstatement of the 71p daily allowance
* No profiteering
* No fingerprinting of visitors
* A choice of sanitary pads
* Adequate health care
* Edible food we can eat.

This was just one of many examples of attempts by detainees to resist the often brutal detention regimes found in UK IRC's (it was in fact the second hunger strike at Yarl's Wood that month and another followed in September of that year).

Come along and show your solidarity with the detainees there and your opposition to the regime everywhere. Gather at Bedford Town Centre to march from Bedford to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre, to demonstrate between 12.30 and 2pm.

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