A five-hour blockade of Colnbrook detention centre near Heathrow airport yesterday ended with six protesters being arrested for 'obstructing the highway'. The six activists from the Stop Deportation Network had encased their arms in glass and plastic tubes and concrete blocks, blocking the entrance to Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres for over four hours, in an attempt to stop the forcible deportation of 45 Iraqi refugees on a special charter flight to Iraqi Kurdistan. All six were taken to West Drayton police station near Heathrow and charged with obstruction of the highway under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
Immediately after the blockade was removed by the police cutting team around 12:45pm, three WH Tours and Woodcock coaches were seen leaving the detention centre carrying about 45 deportees. Another 10 or so had been taken from Brook House detention centre at Gatwick earlier this morning. The time, airline and departure airport of the flight have not been disclosed by the Home Office but it is believed to have left Stanstead that afternoon.
At least three people were taken off the flight following last-minute High Court injunctions. Another man, who had not been given Removal Directions but was nonetheless being deported, was also taken off.
Earlier reports said detainees resisted being put on the coaches by taking off their cloths and refusing to leave their cells. A large number of private security guards eventually overcame them but other detainees, hearing what was going on both inside and outside Colnbrook, started a mass protest. There have not been any updates on the situation within Colnbrook since.