Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Trouble At Brook House IRC

On Friday evening 27th May at approximately 19:30 a group of 22 to 25 detainees began a protest at the continued holding in segregation of two detainees. According to one detainee, riot police were brought into the removal centre and at 05:30 hours on Saturday morning, 22 to 25 detainees were removed from association.

It is not known if they are still @ Brook House IRC or have been transferred to any of the immigration prisons, that is those removal centres managed by the Prison Service, Morton Hall, Lindholme, Haslar or Dover IRCs.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Support Clara Osagiede

RMT Representative Assaulted And Suspended

Don't Let Initial Get Away With Attacking The Right Of Underground Cleaners To Organise!

Demo this Thursday, 10am, outside the hearing at the Initial Office, 13-27 Brunswick Place, London, N1 6DX (2 mins from Old St station)

Clara Osagiede is an RMT representative employed by Initial Cleaning Services on London Underground. On 4th March 2011 Clara witnessed members being forced to clean graffiti off a tube train in the 'acid shed' at Hainault Depot. Aware that the staff involved had no appropriate training to carry out what could be a very hazardous task she raised concerns with the manager on duty who told her it was none of her business and to get out of his office.

Clara explained she was a Health and Safety rep and that it was her business. The manager became aggressive and shoved her out of the office, slamming a door behind her. She reported the incident to other management and to British Transport Police. The manager was suspended but not for long. A few days later Clara reported for work to find the manager back at work without due internal processes being completed. Terrified she withdrew to a safe place of work locking herself in an office. Clara is now suspended for standing up for vulnerable workers being made to undertake dangerous duties in the acid shed for which they are not trained.

Please come and show support outside the disciplinary hearing this Thursday. Bring banners, placards and noisemakers!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Dale Farm Eviction Will Be Resisted

The residents of Dale Farm are living on land that they have bought.  Travellers throughout the country were encouraged to buy land to live on after the requirement for local authorities to provide caravan sites was removed.  But cruelly when they did this voices were raised to ensure that planning permission was not granted.  So generations, from babies to grannies, live 'illegally' on their own land with all the uncertainties and dangers that implies.
It is claimed that they are encroaching on green belt land.  This might be what appears on maps.  But the truth is that prior to the community buying and settling on this land it was a scrap metal yard!  The local council and the objectors know this perfectly well.  Behind the smokescreen of planning rules and green belt land lies a blatant racism.  Basildon Council has not formally replied to the planning applications for alternative mobile-home sites put forward by the Gypsy Council - that could be provided on government agency land at a far lower cost than this act of ethnic cleansing.  It is clear that the Tories want Travellers out of Basildon district at whatever cost in human misery and tax payers' money.
On the strength of this dishonesty and bigotry, and despite pleas from the UN, Council of Europe and Amnesty International, the Tory leader of Basildon District Council trumpets the need to "Uphold the Rule of Law". He has committed £8 million pounds of council reserves to the eviction. Up to another £10 million could be spent by Essex police in assisting with the eviction.
The Council has commissioned private bailiffs Constant & Co to carry out the eviction, a company known for its brutal treatment of Traveller families during move-on operations around the country.
The residents of Dale Farm have asked supporters to establish a camp, Camp Constant, to help stop the destruction of their homes. 

No Passaran!

Friday, 20 May 2011

UK Retailer Backs Campaign To End Immigration Controls

Ethical cosmetics company Lush is dedicating all of its 95 UK stores to promoting the cause of open borders and freedom of movement for all, from Friday 20th-Friday 27th May 2011.

Customers will be given a free NOII newspaper and invited to sign the No One Is Illegal Declaration:

“People should be free to live and work wherever they wish, 
and enjoy all the same rights as all other residents.
No One Is Illegal.”

… and make a donation to help publicise it.

Lush have produced 50,000 copies of the 4-page tabloid newspaper, and a special passport that any human being can issue to any other human being.

The passport affirms that its owner is a human being, and not an alien (or a corporate entity, or a figment of some racist’s imagination), and should be treated like one.

We hope to test the passport at a national border somewhere in the London area during the next few days.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011





         After the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy at the 2007 presidential election, the Ministry for Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development was created, the first time in the history of the French Republic. Since then, tens of thousands of undocumented migrants, men, women and children, have been targeted, arrested and deported, including to countries in war, such as Afghanistan. This immigration policy is unacceptable and it violates the elementary humanitarian principles and the international agreements France has ratified. Besides this, there are the disastrous consequences of the “debate” about national identity and thepersecution of the Roma.

         We want this situation, which is undermining fundamental rights, threatening the right to seek asylum and ruining the lives of the targeted foreigners in France, TO STOP. This is why in May 2011, on the anniversary of the creation of the Ministry for Immigration, we are calling for a unified national demonstration. There will be demonstrations happening on the same day all over France, including a demonstration in Calais.

         We demand an immediate stop to the government's repressive policies against undocumented migrants and the Roma and the regularization of undocumented migrants.




Start at 2.30pm at the crossroads of Rue de Moscou and Rue Lamy.

Do we want a National Front mayor in Calais at the next elections?

Does anyone have better housing, because the migrants are sleeping outdoors?

20 years of deportations and destruction:

Is that a solution?

How long will there be border control between France and England?

Are we going to let the government ignore human rights in our name?


A call out by:
AC! Côte d'OpaleAttacBoulonnais, La Belle Etoile (Calais), Europe Ecologie Les Verts, FSU 59-62, GDALE-CGA (Lille), Louis Lecoin nonviolent group of Dunkirk, La Marmite aux Idées (Calais), Ligue des droits de l’homme 62 (Dunkirk), MRAP Nord Pas Calais (with the Dunkirk group), the NPA, the PCF, Salam,Solidaires 59-62, SUD Education 59-62, Terre d’Errance

To sign the national call-out, go to http://dailleurnoussommesdici.org/


For the past 10 years, undocumented migrants have wandered the streets of Calais, stuck between France and England, both of which didn’t want them. Too often people walk passed them, indifferent or too preoccupied with their everyway worries. Even worse, some use the migrant issue to stir up racism and fear amongst people. This way everyone keeps to themselves, thinking that nothing can change. Let’s not stay in this game of “divide and rule”! Defending the rights of the undocumented migrants means also defending our rights and valuing our solidarity.

A migrant is not an intruder, as they might like to have us believe, but rather someone who is searching for protection in Europe, because in his/her country, his/her life is threatened by war, conflict, famine and poverty. Isn’t it only normal to want to live better? We are trying to the same thing. Yet migrants are tracked down and persecuted daily on the streets of Calais, by the police and the authorities.

This is why it’s time to unite the different struggles and, of the documented or the undocumented (of people with or without papers), and tooprotect our most elementary rights:

*Lets reclaim the right to a decent housing, as well as the right to live in dignified conditions. Migrants often sleep outside, in the summer as well as in the winter, as the state doesn’t fulfil its obligation to house asylum seekers. On the other hand, there are also many “native” inhabitants of Calais, who live in precarious conditions, with respect to their housing and work. A simple question for the sceptics: does anyone have better housing, or a better salary, because the undocumented migrants sleep outdoors and get deported?

*Lets demand an end to the police violence and reclaim the right to peace. Every day the police harasses migrants without mercy, they arrest them for not having done anything wrong. But this omnipresence of police is weighing on the French residents of Calais too, especially in the neighbourhoods where the police and the authorities use only force to respond to the primarily social and economic problems. A baton has never been a solution.

*Lets reclaim the right to freedom of movement and condemn the systematic identity controls. There is freedom of movement for goods and capital, so why couldn’t we have freedom of movement for people? Every year 26 000 migrants are deported from France, while the country proclaims itself to be the cradle of human rights and while big companies make huge profit that only benefits a small minority.

Without a united struggle, the situation in Calais is going to get worse and worse, both for “native” Calaisians and for the migrants. We have to act collectively.


Start at 2.30pm at the crossroads of Rue de Moscou and Rue Lamy
The “d’ailleur nous sommesd’ici” collective is open to everybody, we need to organize the struggled together and united. Contact: dailleurs.dici@laposte.net

Monday, 16 May 2011

Update From Calais

The last few weeks have seen a stepping-up of the struggle in Calais, after No Borders activists released video footage of police raids and harassment to French national media on 10 April. [Video #1, #2.] With TV and radio attention turned on Calais, migrants got a breath of calm as the border police (PAF: Police Aux Frontieres) seemed to take a week off. But they were soon back with a vengeance with a major raid on 21 April which led to over two dozen arrests, including three No Borders activists who were brutally arrested and now face serious charges.

One video, which received thousands of online views in a few hours, showed border police driving into Africa House (the deserted factory complex lived in by around 100 Sudanese, Eritrean, Afghan and other migrants) in the early hours, dancing and joking as they blasted loud African music from squad cars with lights flashing. Other footage showed police hitting activists and smashing cameras, as well as sexual harassment. But these videos really indicate just the tip of the iceberg of the systematic repression taking place in Calais. Many of the worst incidents of police violence against migrants are unlikely to ever be captured on film. Nor can a few video clips make clear the crushing reality of this harassment that goes on every day and every night: constant and repeated ID controls, arrests, raids, beatings, destruction of shelters and possessions, contamination of food and water, and acts of humiliation and psychological warfare. All as part of a deliberate policy agreed by the French and UK governments to “clear” undesirables from the border zone by making life unliveable.

No Borders have been living and working alongside migrants in Calais since the June 2009 No Border camp, and an important part of their work during this time has been filming, monitoring, and documenting police raids and attacks. Activists have collected maybe hundreds of hours of film, as well as photographs, written testimonies and more evidence. There are plenty more “videos of shame” which could be published in future. At this moment activists are in discussions with lawyers about the best approach to take with presenting this evidence, perhaps as part of a legal challenge against the French state.

Africa House, currently the largest migrant settlement in Calais, is attacked by police pretty much every day, sometimes numerous times in the same day or night. So having a whole ten days off from raids was a real material benefit to residents. CRS riot police did make a small incursion at the back of the squatted complex on the morning of the 13th: but when they found out a Radio France journalist was on patrol with No Borders that morning they soon scurried off, even releasing one migrant without papers whom they had been about to detain. The recent French press coverage has been overwhelmingly positive (a surprise for English activists used to the anti-migration rants of the Daily Mail et al.), not only spotlighting the activity of the cops but giving migrants a rare chance to tell their own stories on national media. Such as one Darfuri friend who told how: “I left my country because of war, expecting to find freedom in Europe, and instead I have found another war.

Of course the holiday didn’t last long. On 21 April Africa House was raided by five vanloads of CRS riot cops as well as a number of PAF border police, who attacked the building simultaneously from both sides at just after 9 am. More than 20 people without papers were arrested. But in this case the violence was mainly directed at the No Borders activists on the scene — particularly those carrying cameras. Activists were brutally grabbed, dragged on the ground, manhandled and injured. One camera was smashed, another taken and its memory card stolen. Four activists were arrested and held in custody for nine hours. Three of them now face trial on 12 July for charges including “violent resistance in a group” and “illegal occupation”. The former charge is similar to something like “violent disorder” in the UK.

Despite regular No Borders interventions in police raids, if the trial does go ahead it will be one of only a few times the authorities have tried to prosecute activists for serious offences following a squat raid. Such charges have often been threatened, but rarely reached court, perhaps because the police have more to lose themselves from such a trial. Many of these raids, and certainly much standard police conduct during them, are likely to themselves be illegal. With two years’ worth of evidence to make the point, a high profile court case around an Africa House raid could seriously backfire on the “forces of order”.

As one No Border activist commented in a press statement last week: “this trial is no more than a manipulation strategy to try and destroy the image of No Borders, and above all to try and scare us and discourage us from continuing to film and expose the reality of Calais and of its repressive system. We are not afraid: we are ready to go to the courts and seize the opportunity to win this latest political trial.”

As well as this new trial, two other No Borders activists are currently facing charges of “outrage” (insulting a police officer) and assault on a police officer, from separate incidents. These comrades also need solidarity and support, particularly if there are fines to pay.

Meanwhile, with or without media attention and coutroom battles, the struggle in Calais continues. Whether it’s direct action against the border, or simple acts of everyday solidarity such as sharing a cup of sweet tea by the campfire, the No Borders presence in Calais is getting stronger. As our numbers and networks grow, so do our skills and experience, and we become ready to face new challenges and take new steps to move our struggle forwards. New hands, eyes and minds are always welcome: come and join the resistance

[Repost from Calais Migrant Solidarity]

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Hunger Strike Ends

The three Iranian refused asylum seekers who had been on hunger strike outside Lunar House in Croydon for the past 37 days have ended their protest after being granted leave to reapply for asylum based on 'new' medical and legal evidence of abuse in Iran.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Support The Iranian Hunger Strikers

Demonstration Friday 6 May

Assemble 2:00 pm at Parliament Square followed by march to protest outside the Home Office Marsham Street SW1 3:00 to - 5:00 pm

Six Iranian refugees are now reaching their fifth week of a hunger strike to demand asylum in the UK and protest against mistreatment by  the Home Office. This Friday we will march to the Home Office in Westminster to join our voices with their courage in demanding fair treatment for refugees.

Ahmad Sadeghi Pour, Morteza Bayat, Keyvan Bahari, Kiarash Bahari, Mahyrar Meyari and Mehran Meyari were tortured and imprisoned for their involvement in opposition to the Iranian regime. But despite clear evidence of this, the Home Office has refused to let them stay in the UK.

Facing deportation, they decided to take drastic action: four of them have sewn their mouths together in protest; by Friday all will have gone 32 days without food. They have been camping outside the UK Border Agency (UKBA) headquarters in Croydon, and Amnesty International in Clerkenwell.

Their case highlights the rotten state of the UK asylum system. Rather than support refugees, the UK Border Agency operates a systematic policy of disbelief: ignore, confuse, use every legal loophole to refuse asylum claims and keep the numbers down.

Enough is enough. We will not sit and watch the Iranian Hunger Strikers be sent back to torture and death. We welcome them and all refugees, and will fight with them against deportation.

The hunger strikers will be with us in wheelchairs. Bring banners, drums, music, and passion.

Request: does anyone have any spare wheelchair we can borrow???

This demo is called by the hunger strikers and by supporters including members of:

No Border Network
Stop Deportations Network
SOAS Detainee Support
Cambridge Migrant Solidarity Group

Iranian Hunger Strikers Sew Their Lips Together In Protest At UK Deportation

Iranian Refugees On Hunger Strike In London

Iranian Asylum Seekers On Hunger Strike Outside Immigration Centre


Monday, 2 May 2011

Solidarity Needed For Iranian Hunger Strikers!

The situation of the six Iranian asylum seekers currently on day 24 of their hunger strike has become more urgent.

The six Iranian pro-democracy activists have been holding a protest against their deportation by camping outside Lunar House, the Home Office building in Croydon, and outside Amnesty International Offices in Clerkenwell, central London.


The men have experienced brutal torture in Iran for their part in resistance to the authoritarian rulers of that country. While we all know that the Home Office barely glances over asylum applications, what is especially appalling about this case is that not only have the men been subjected to severe personal ill-treatment (as required to be considered a refugee); but they came to the UK with substantial (and often difficult to produce) evidence that was completely disregarded: torture wounds over their bodies, newspaper articles with their photos in identifying them as activists, etc.

Some of the men were then screwed over by an unscrupulous immigration lawyer, who failed to even translate and submit key evidence.


Not having eaten for 24 days has made them ill, and one of them (a 17-year old), is seriously ill and may suffer long term kidney damage, according to a nurse who visited them.

They have refused to go to hospital; the men in Croydon called paramedics when they were unwell but became anxious and mistrustful of medical staff and did not want to get into the ambulance.

The Croydon protesters were also the target of racist abuse, when a man set fire to one of their sleeping bags and ripped up their publicity.
No Borders and Iranian Green Movement activists and other sympathisers have visited and stayed out with them.

This video shows their current situation and gives some background to their cases:

These guys have risked their lives to fight oppressive rule in Iran, and have suffered serious consequences as a result. They have been neglected by the government here and ignored by NGOs - it is critical that they get support from grassroots campaigners.


Raise the profile of their case:

- They have specifically asked that people sign their petition:

- Contact the Home Secretary (more details about their names and cases via the link above)

Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
Emails:  Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

- Contact the media

- Share it on Facebook:

- Ask Amnesty to take on their case

- Join the demo in support of the hunger strikers on Friday May 6th, 12 noon at the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, Victoria, London.


Sunday, 1 May 2011

Villawood/Australia Update

The rooftop protest at Australia's Villawood detention centre has ended after 11 days. The riot and protests at Villawood and other Australian detention centres have been accompanied by a number of Serco whistleblowers hitting the airwaves [1, 2, 3], alongside news that 70% of refused asylum seekers have had a decision not to grant them a visa overturned upon appeal. There have also been regular protests by detainee supporters which included a rooftop protest at Immigration Minister Bowen's own constituency office.

News Digest

Here are some recent migration/racism-related news stories of note that we haven't been able to cover in more detail:

'Eastern European migrants 'add £5bn' to Britain's GDP' from the BBC [unfortunately the FT article on the same subject is behind a paywall and we have been unable to review it so far - it being Sunday, the local Library is closed]. Pity they trotted out that tired old one man pressure group Andrew Green for a comment.

'UN asked to investigate death of Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga: Campaigners are pressing for an examination of Jimmy Mubenga's death during removal on Heathrow flight' - hopefully this wont be yet another death in custody that will be swept under the carpet, though we wont be holding our breath.

'Immigration officials have turned HIV patients into prisoners, claims hospital: NHS consultants say that the UK Border Agency's security measures have turned Hillingdon hospital into a prison' - no surprise here given the long history of prisoners receiving cancer treatment or giving birth whilst still handcuffed between two prison officers or the way Jimmy Mubenga was 'restrained' on his deportation flight.

Whilst we haven't been blogging much recently, the North African refugee crisis and the antics of Tweedledum and Tweedledee [Sarkozy and Berlusconi] have not escaped up and the blatant racism underpinning their Dumb and Dumber actions/policy pronouncements on the subject. [For example: 1, 2, 3, 4]

Equally unpleasant has been the donkey caravan of fellow European politicians backing their calls to introduce increased border restrictions within the Schengen zone:

'France and Italy get backing for changes to EU border rules'

'Athens backs calls for stricter EU border controls'

'National interest comes first' - a review of some news comment across the EU on the same subject

Fortunately, saner voices can be heard off stage:

'Sarkozy-Berlusconi: A border control farce'

'Another project in trouble: First the euro, now Schengen. Europe’s grandest integration projects seem to be suffering' - the Economist's Charlemagne blog

'Reforming Schengen, an absurd gesture'  - Berliner Zeitung

'Agnès Poirier: Both leaders are prisoners of a resurgent right wing'

'Fortress Europe? There is a better way'

And for a little bit of light relief, the Daily Flail's view:

'The French mocked Britain for warning that tearing up EU borders would be a disaster. Look who's whingeing now!'