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21/04/07: Video rush & report on Crawley anti-detention protest

Oscar Beard | 21.04.2007 23:27 | No Border Camp 2007 | Anti-racism | Migration | Repression | London | World

Today saw activists march in Crawley, near Gatwick airport, London, UK, to oppose the proposed new immigration detention centre.

Some 70 to 100 demonstrators marched around the quite town centre and caused considerable interest in the locals, who seemed unused to this kind of action.

From the beginning the police presence was high. Surveillance took a new level, three evidence gathering teams, a separate police stills photographer and a plain clothes officer (in jeans and white jacket), who ran around the local train station in a state of panic as protestors disembarked from the bus and went to the toilet.

Crawley - in spitting distance of Gatwick airport and Tinsley House, the current immigration removal centre (IRC) - is the site for the next IRC in plans by the government to build more centres to house 4000 people.

It is unknown at present which company will run Crawley, but it is certain who will be paying for it.

This is how it works. The companies that run and profit from the IRCs do not pay for the construction of the site. You do, the UK taxpayer. You pay, the construction companies make a tidy packet building it, then it is contracted out to global corporations like Serco, Group 4 Securicor, the Sodexho Alliance (Kalyx) and the aptly named Global Solutions Limited. And it is these companies that profit from arbitrary detention, imprisonment for the crime of having the wrong passport or no passport at all, for trying to escape a repressive regime. A regime that we, the UK, are so happy to arm, as long as we are getting something out of it at the time, be it gold, diamonds, timber or coltan.

What does the UK taxpayer get back? Nothing, except less funding into the health industry, education services and all other public services. You pay, they profit, you lose out. The people who end up inside lose out the most. They lose the right to life, they lose their human rights. They are held in prison conditions, abused, denied decent food and medical attention, they are beaten and even tortured. Some will die or commit suicide because of the conditions.

But the ultimate statement in all of this is simple, as has been seen time and time again - you allow it to happen to them now, in the future it will happen to you. If an immigrant loses their rights, one day the same will happen to you. One day you too may face imprisonment for nothing, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the wrong country.

As an article in Peace News recently stated, medical staff in IRCs offer paracetamol to the inmates and little more. From my own experience this mentality is already happening to the elderly of this country. I witnessed it way back in 2005. Cut backs in health care, the privatisation of the Care in the Community system, sees the old and vulnerable popping paracetamol for every ailment. From one system to another, it slips across so easy. And unless you are in direct contact with that system you will never know it ever happened, until it hits your own family. And then it's too late.

Do not allow others to suffer what you would not suffer yourself.

Oscar Beard


Additional point on the policing

22.04.2007 09:51

As well as the evidence gathering teams there were also two members of the the Metropolitan FIT squad, the big round-faced new boy and long term member, who can both be seen in the video. I'm sure you'll recognise them.

Unfortunately my photograph of the plain clothes officer at the train station did not come out. No point posting a photograph of a police jeep with him ducking down in the back seat.

Oscar Beard


Display the following 2 comments

  1. and now.......... — masked bandit
  2. Stop focussing on actions of police! — Bob