no-borders-march-sat.gifBetween 19-24th September over 300 people gathered near Balcombe, East Sussex, for the first UK No Border Camp, which formed part of a wider campaign against the building of a new detention prison at Gatwick airport. The centre will be the biggest in the UK, able to hold 426 people & if built will increase the capacity in the UK to nearly 3,000. Those imprisoned in these inhumane places are held without trial, their only crime being to have come in search of a new life, to escape persecution, poverty and war.

A variety of actions took place during the camp. Demonstrations outside integral parts of the UK’s racist immigration system, the Border & Immigration Agencies Lunar House & Electric House in Croydon. Lunar House is one of two places in the UK (the other is in Liverpool), where asylum seekers must go to claim asylum. Many people have their claims rejected at this point & are held in short-term prison-like facilities before being immediately deported. Electric House is a reporting centre where asylum seekers have to sign in while their applications are processed. Many are arrested, detained & deported when signing & failure to sign can often lead to deportation. Electric house is also where local snatch squads, who break into houses in dawn raids, are based.
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Virgin Holidays Crawley office was also paid a surprise visit on Friday by around 10 activists. Virgin makes money by deporting refugees, particularly flying refugees back to Nigeria. The activists occupied the foyer & a number of them managed to get upstairs to the office, where they leafleted & informed staff about Virgin’s activities. Later in the day activists from No Borders South Wales blockaded the front entrance to the offices of Group 4-Securicor. As employees tried to sneak out through the back entrance they were asked to justify their company’s racist profiteering from detaining asylum seekers at Dungavel detention prison in Scotland, & the key role that Group 4 plays in deporting people. There have been numerous allegations that during the deportation process Group 4 staff have racially & physically abused those being deported. Group 4 also makes huge profits from tagging prisoners & young offenders as well as running 6 detention prisons in the Netherlands, & interrogation facilities & over 100 prisons in the US.
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On Saturday around 500 people marching from Crawley Town Centre, to Tunsley House, an already existing detention prison in the grounds of Gatwick airport, in order to show their solidarity with those imprisoned inside.
The camp provided a space to share information, hold workshops, & discuss how to best oppose growing border controls across the world & work towards a world without states, a world where everyone will be able to freely participate in life on an equal footing.

This article also appeared in Gagged! #20.

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