Hunger strike in Harmondsworth, cross-Europe demos against border prisons

Yesterday (Saturday 7 May), solidarity demos took place at most UK detention centres, at other migration prisons across Europe and also in the US, and at the Brenner pass where the Austrian state plans to build a new border fence sealing off the route north from Italy.

At Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow Airport, 190 people announced a hunger strike, and 50 people occupied the yard. We are also hearing reports that one man, who had already been on hunger strike alone for 4 days, attempted suicide yesterday afternoon, cutting his wrists in the yard of the prison yesterday afternoon and falling unconscious. He was taken away by medical staff and prisoners do not know what his condition is now or where he is being held.

The Harmondsworth hunger strikers join Fredrick Igbinedion, who has been on hunger strike for 13 days now in Morton Hall detention centre in Lincolnshire.

In Calais, the demo called at the Coquelles detention centre (near the channel tunnel mouth) was banned under the “State of Emergency” legislation. But around 40 people showed up anyway.

At the Brenner Pass, several hundred people took on Italian riot cops near the border crossing with Austria.

In Dungavel, Scotland, prisoners got out of their wings into the outside area. They were still trapped by 20 foot high fences topped with razorwire, but cheered and shouted together with around 500 people demonstrating in solidarity on the other side.

In London, as well as demos at the nearby detention centres at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Yarl’s Wood, there was also a banner drop in Brixton and a demo in St Pancras Station.

See some photos from the day below.

Check out the Detained Voices website for messages from people locked in the UK migration prisons, including those on hunger strike in Harmondsworth.

Here is the full list of yesterday’s demos yesterday, according to the Shut Down Detention Centres site:

* March through central London (UK)
* Dungavel detention centre (Scotland, UK)
* Morton Hall detention centre (Lincoln, UK)
* Yarl’s Wood detention centre (Bedfordshire, UK)
* Cedars detention centre (West Sussex, UK)
* Campsfield detention centre (Oxfordshire, UK)
* Brook House detention centre (Gatwick, UK)
* Tinsley House detention centre (Gatwick, UK)
* Harmondsworth detention centre (Middlesex, UK)
* Colnbrook detention centre (Middlesex, UK)
* The Verne detention centre (Dorset, UK)
* Larne House (Northern Ireland, UK)
* Detention centre near Schiphol Airport (The Netherlands)
* Reykjavik (Iceland)
* 127 bis detention centre (Steenokkerzeel, Belgium)
* Coquelles detention centre (near Calais, France)
* Märsta detention centre (Sweden)
* Larne House (Belfast, N. Ireland)
* Brennero (Italy)
* Parenesti (Greece)
* Exhibition at ex-detention centre (Frankfurt, Germany)
* Tacoma and Lynden detention centres (US)

A message from Harmondsworth via Detained Voices:

Today is the strike day against detention.

Today is the strike day against detention. Today is a strike day all over Europe and in the UK against detention. We need justice. People are here for 12 months, 15months. I’ve been here 12 months. There is a person who is married and her husband is in detention. That is not fair.

More than freedom we want justice.

Right now there are a hundred plus people in the Court yard number 4. Nobody had lunch and nobody will go to dinner. We have been shouting.

In the meantime, a man has cut his wrist in the court yard. He lay down on the floor and became unconscious. We pressed the buzzers to get help and no one was answering them. It wasted a lot of time. We got some officers they came saw and went to away to bring more officers. They made everyone go inside. We can see through the window that he is still there on the floor.

dungavel outside

Dungavel: outside

dungavel inside

Dungavel: inside

brixton shut them down

Brixton banner drop

Yarl's Wood greeting

Yarl’s Wood greeting

Yarl's Wood at dusk

Yarl’s Wood greeting at dusk

yarlswood we want freedom

A message from Yarl’s Wood: “we want freedom”

paranesti

Protests in Paranesti, Greece

brenner 1

Border clashes at Brenner (Brennaro)
brenner 2

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Subverted bus stop poster

colnbrook

Colnbrook

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