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Manchester demo - Stop criminalising asylum seekers

heather | 15.04.2006 17:54 | April 2006 No Borders Days of Action | Anti-racism | Migration

Good demo today in Manchester as part of the international protests against immigration detention kicking off this month.

Noone is illegal
Noone is illegal



Manchester city of detention, destitution and deportation was the grand title, the intention being to expose Manchester’s hidden shame – the treatment of asylum seekers and other migrants. We started at HMP Manchester (Strangeways), stopping briefly at British Airways (whose flights are used to deport people), near the registry office (to listen to the experiences of people from brides without borders) China town (to remember sadly the deaths of the cockle pickers at Morecambe Bay – and all others forced into illegal work with no employment rights) and finally to a rally in the Peace Gardens. About 200 people were there and many people facing deportation spoke about their experiences in the immigration system.

Here is a message from an inmate at HMP Manchester currently imprisoned for working illegally.

"I am currently serving a 6 month sentence ... for work in illegally,
although it might be against the law but working is the only option I
have to stay alive ... and also to escape the death which I face in
my own country ... I am very happy to know that there are people who
are ready to listen to the cry of the less priveledge ...who will do
any kind of work (except crimes) to stay alive. I was formerly a
student of Open University before I was arrested and jail, I was
studying Health and Social Care with the hope that when I finished I
will be able to help the society and ever since I got to the UK and I
start working I have being pay my tax, I have not commit any crime
before, even till the day I was arrested I was paying my school fees.
Please help me I am helpless and a dead man if I return to my




16.04.2006 08:59

Today's Demo in Manchester was fantastic, all the protesters who showed up and travelled all the way to Manchester was outstanding, it was my first ever demo and it showed me that my family are not alone with what upset and hurt the Home Office inposes on famillies and individuals. We all have rights and we all need to make the Home Office clear that we do not agree with what they do, I shall continue with helping people as much as I can from now on. sadly I only learnt how evil the Home Office can be when they sent my partner a letter asking if he would return home and make arrangments after he had been refussed Family Amnesty, it was a shock in which I lost our unborn child in November 2005. little did I know what the Home Office had planned, soon after in Febuary 2006 our family home was surrounded by police at 8am on morning, witnessed by our children and neighbours leaving for work. This is when I learn't that I had made the worst mistake ever and in fact should never have trusted the Home Office the way I once did. My battle had started to commence with the Home Office from then on, and my battle to defeat the Home office shall continue until I know they stop treating asylum seekers/refugees in such a disheartend way. I am ashamed of our Goverment, I am ashamed to be British by what I have learn't recently, but I will do what ever it takes to get this put right!, so please let's keep our vouices together and stand as one and I am sure that sometime in the future we can make a change. WELL DONE EVERYONE!!!!, Lisa and Family xx

Lisa Gordon
mail e-mail:

More positive observations from Leeds

16.04.2006 16:50

We were part of a 10-contingent from Leeds No Borders and can testify to a really positive, well-organised tour and demonstration. The Manchester sunshine also helped! There were between 200 and 300 people at any one time. We were really encouraged to see so many migrant people - especially asylum seekers - on the demo. People from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Zimbabwe, Libya, etc joined those from Bristol, Nottingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool etc in solidarity.

Marching through the streets to the sound of the samba on a sunny, busy Saturday afternoon ensured high visibility - lots of leaflets were handed out explaining what was going on. Very little abuse from passers by. Police kept low profile. We got a feel of how different parts of Manchester's 'system' detained, impoverished, dehumanised and then deported asylum seekers - this should definitely be developed for future events. We re-occupied the city for a few hours and made sure lots of people knew that there lots of us out there who don't have a problem with immigration and believe in a far greater relaxation of border controls towards their eventual abolition.

During the final rally at Peace Gardens, we managed to obtain a live link-up via mobile phone with a Congolese asylum seeker detained at Colnbrook detention centre for over a year who spoke of his growing desperation to get out - he said 'he is thinking very seriously about taking his own life'. This was a brave speech - those who have spoken out like during previous demonstrations have been put in isolation inside the detention centres and punished.

There are now plans for a national day of action at detention centres across the UK during June's Refugee Week.

Well done Manchester!

Next stop: Leeds 6 May - City of Shame tour. Watch this space.


Tyneside Solidarity with Manchester 15/04 asylum-rights demo (more photo)

18.04.2006 11:56

On 15th April a contingent from Tyneside Community Action from Refugees travelled to Manchester to support the demonstration against the arbitrary detention and criminalisation of those seeking asylum in Britain.

Photos and rest of report:

for Tyneside Community Action for Refugees


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  1. Good solid demo — megan