Demonstrating on 'private property'
No Borders banner
Asylum is not a crime
North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group
Local bigots spew their bile
Rattling the fences
Demonstrators and placards
Local bigots (in uniform this time)
'Proud to be British' blah blah blah
Speaker and candles
Ignoring police pleas that we assemble at the main gate (far away from where the detainees are housed), we headed to another section of the fence, right next to their cells. It was wonderful to hear those inside cheering and chanting at our presence. Unfortunately not everyone was thrilled by our presence. A small group of racist local people came out to shout nationalist crap and have the police move us from 'their property' (an area of grass by the fence). They stayed there the whole time shouting insults, even during prayers for those who'd died in immigration centres.
After some great singing and dancing by some of the Africans, many speakers from refugee communities and groups such as Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) expressed their feelings about the situation of refugees in the UK, and made clear the links between the actions of the British state and the creation of refugee populations. Candles were lit and passed arond and people from different communities led prayers for the 221* people who have died in detention centres.
Today was a great chance to show our solidarity with migrants who are incarcerated by the state just because they cross borders without it's approval, and to mourn the loss of those who die or take their own lives as a result of this abuse.
* 221 was the figure given by speakers. A 2004 report listed 49 migrants who had committed suicide in the UK ( http://www.ncadc.org.uk/resources/selfharm.html). An older (2000) report listed 2063 immigrant deaths associated with "Fortress Europe", the heavily policed borders of the EU ( http://struggle.ws/ws/2000/fortress60.html).