Monday, 11 January 2010

Mercure Hotel Demonstration Press Release


The Mercure Hotel, Povey Cross Road, Crawley is currently the scene of a peaceful protest by anti-detention campaigners, demonstrating against Arora Hotels International Ltd.’s plans to turn the 254-bed four-star Mercure hotel into the third immigration detention centre in the Gatwick area. They are distributing leaflets to staff and guests, demanding that Arora drops its plans to turn one of its hotels into an immigration prison, plans that they have labelled as "just another example of cynical, profit-driven opportunism of big companies wanting a slice of the lucrative detention market."

This picket is part of an on-going campaign to pressure Arora Hotels International to drop their plans to try and profit from the imprisonment of women and children. Other Arora Hotels in London and Manchester have also been the target for protests in recent months, including the hotel chain's headquarters at Heathrow Airport.

One of the protesters, Alice Cladellas, said: "It is a disgrace that Arora are trying to profit from the misery of the women and children who are locked up in immigration prisons across the country for long periods of time. They are treated like criminals when their only 'crime' is try and find safety and a better life. Many of these children are born here and do not understand what is happening to them and many suffer permanent damage because of being locked up like this. That Crawley Council is even considering this application amazes me. They should throw it out straight away."

The plans, which include an external 5.2m high wire mesh and razor wire fence and extensive floodlighting and cctv camera system on 6m high posts, were submitted last September, are due for consideration at a Crawley Borough Council Planning Committee meeting scheduled for 25 January.

Note for Editors:

[1] The planning application and relevant details can be found at:
[2] Established in 1999, Arora International Hotels is one of the UK's fastest growing privately owned hotel companies, with six luxury hotels in and around Heathrow and Gatwick airports and one in Manchester city centre. For details of the Mercure, see:
[3] For more background on the application, see:
[4] Details of other actions against Arora Hotels International see:,,,,
[5] The medical effects of imprisoning children are well documented and were recently highlighted in a briefing paper 'Significant Harm - the effects of administrative detention on the health of children, young people and their families' published jointly by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Faculty of Public Health (also endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing). See:
[6] No Borders Brighton, part of the No Borders UK network, struggles against all immigration controls and for the freedom of movement and equal rights for all. In September 2007, the No Borders UK network organised a No Border Camp near Gatwick airport in protest at plans to open a new detention centre there. Brook House was subsequently opened in March 2009, joining Tinsley House, a dedicated families and children facility, as the second detention centre in the local area.

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