There were day-long protests and a stand-off between immigration detainees and police at Oakington IRC yesterday following the death, currently presumed to be from heart attack, of a 40-year-old Kenyan man yesterday. More than 180 detainees, in their collective anger over what they claimed was a preventable death, broke through the gates of one of the detention centre's compounds* and occupied a courtyard, preventing police and coroners officials entering the room where the man's body lay.
Police riot squads and Prison Service 'Tornado' teams arrived in large numbers throughout yesterday morning, and a tense stand-off between the protesters and a police negotiation team ensued. The detainees threatened to start a hunger strike to protest at the detention centre's lack of care. The dead man had apparently pleaded with G4S staff at the privately run immigration prison for a doctor and painkillers, but staff refused his requests. Oakington is an ex-RAF based that was slated to close in 2006 but remains open with currently no new date announced for its closure.
* Not 'smashed down' the gates as the out-of-breath Cambridge News reporter claims.