...because people need to know what is happening here."
The women in Yarl's Wood are well into the third week of their hunger strike and doctors have warned that the core of the women who have been refusing food for what is now 19 days now risk doing themselves long-term damage to their health. As many as 30 are still refusing food and taking only a little sugar water to stave off the dizzy spells they are all suffering.
At the beginning of this campaign, the mainstream media were all to a certain degree (usually based on the degree of 'sympathy' their editorial line would allow them to display), yet most seem to have dropped the story (with the honourable exception of the Guardian) following the UKBA briefing that the 4 'ring leaders' had been removed and the 'incident resolved' on Monday 8 February. This fiction was repeated in the House of Lords yesterday (see below).
However, the women inside and their supporters outside know this to be a lie and have tried to help maintain a public profile for the hunger strike as the mainstream media attention has waned. There have been demonstrations outside the Serco offices in Holburn, solidarity 'hunger strikes', an unannounced visit to Yarl's Wood itself last Sunday and another public meeting and picket organised for later this week.
More on the women's health conditions and a link to audio recording of the Guardian's Matthew Taylor talking to a former Yarl's Wood detainee describing the beatings and racist abuse he suffered at the hands of the detention centre staff. See also Yarl's Wood: a disgrace.
London NoBorders has called for a public meeting and demo this week in solidarity with the women at Yarl's Wood immigration prison on hunger strike since 5th February.
Thursday 25th, 7pm - PUBLIC MEETING on the hunger strike: infoshare and discussion on future solidarity and protest. At LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, E1 1ES.
Friday 26th, 2.30pm - DEMO outside Serco offices, 22 Hand Court, Holborn, WC1V 6JF. Serco run Yarl's Wood on behalf of the UK Border Agency. Please bring banners and instruments.