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Report fron Saturday's Transnational No Borders demonstration in Crawley

Indymedia dispatch | 22.09.2007 18:20 | No Border Camp 2007 | Migration | London

On the 22nd September 2007 the No Borders, Transnational Day of Action Against Immigration Prisons; saw several hundred protesters leaving the No Borders Camp near the town of Balcolme, to go to Crawley and from there to march to Tinsley House (and the nearby construction site of Brook House) at Gatwick to protest against immigration prisons.

By midday around 200 people had gathered at the Memorial Gardens close the Crawley's Shopping Centre, where they waited for the arrival of protesters travelling from London. At the Memorial gardens speakers from Iran and the DR of Congo addressed the crowd, and banners were displayed with slogans that, amongst others, read "Our resistance is as transnational as capital", "Against Fortress Europe", "Freedom of movement for all", "Asylum seekers welcome" and "Smash All Borders". Once the coach from London arrived, the march set off with a samba band, banners and chants of "No borders, no nations, stop deportations". By then, the march had grown to around 500 people, and it made its way through Crawley's shopping centre, along the M23, and finally into the perimeter of Gatwick airport - the scheduled route to Tinsley House. The demonstration had a very international character, and included No Borders groups from around the Uk, Antifa, anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups, an African women orgnistaion, Queers Without Borders, London's Samba Band, Revolution, refugees groups and supporters from countries such as Congo, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Latin America, and many individuals that had travelled to the No Borders Camp from countries all over Europe.

Along the way there were several reports of police intimidation of independent journalists. Two examples include: one of a videomaker having been arrested for alledgedly filming the police and refusing to provide his personal details when the police demanded them. Later on, another independent journalist was approached by the police for taking pictures of an incident where a person on a balcony was taking pictures of the protesters below with long lenses, shouting abuse and displaying union jacks and St George flags. The protesters shouted up antifa slogans in protest - having caught this on film the independent journalist was asked to provide his name and personal details. It wasn't until he was able to show his press crudentials that he was let go.

Apart from these incidents there was significant policing on the demonstration, with local police forces and Forward Intelligence Teams from the Metropolitan police filming and photographying people along the march.

Once the march reached Tinsley House people on the demo were directed to a designated "rally/protest" area. Reports were that this was not a pen as people were free to go in or out, but police prevented protesters to reach the detention centre with metal barriers and a police cordon opposite just outsideTinsley House main entrance. The demo had previously communicated with Tinsley House to make sure that the visitors of detainees wouldn't be affected by the demonstration and could continue normally with their visits. Tinsley House officials said that visitors of detainees that were already inside of the prison could remain, and said that they would not cancel later visits because of the rally, but would delay them till it the demonstration was over.

At around 3:30pm, and after an open mic session with a series of talks from migrants explaining their experiences of migrating into the UK, and of life inside the so called 'detention centres', the protesters begans to leave the area, so visitors waiting to go in could do so. At first police had informed that they would not allow protesters to use Gatwick's airport train station, but most people ignored this request and started to walk towards Gatwick airport. Police tried to react to this, but by the time they moved there was at least 150 people already walking towards the airport, and so they didn't try to stop them so people would disperse from the area mire rapidly. Many people finally made it to the airport's train station followed by large numbers of police, and under the amazed glace of holyday makers. Police was so eager to get protesters out from the area that they even offered to stop the train at the station "until everyone got on board", and so they ignored the fact that most of the crowd didn't bother to buy a ticket for the ride back to the Camp.

As I write this, the Indymedia dispatch team at the Camp got news that the independent media activist arrested this morning at the demonstration in Crawley has just been released without charge. At the moment the Camp is full of people attending the Transnational No Borders Network workshop, whilst the kitchen is finishing preparing dinner, the cinema showing films, the Indymedia public access point in full swing, and the social spaces within the Camp getting ready for the evening.

Indymedia dispatch


solidarity from Newcastle

24.09.2007 21:19

The solidarity demo in Newcastle was strong and noisy. A phone link was established with the Crawley march at 12.30, although it wasn't possible to hear over the PA system - people on the rally and passers-by at Grey's Monument were informed about the demo near Gatwick.

TCAR (Tyneside Community Action for Refugees)
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