Over twenty people gathered in central Cardiff on Wednesday to coincide with the ‘ethnic charter flight‘ that deported Nigerian families at 6pm. There was also protests by Stop Deportation Network in London and Residents Against Racism in Dublin.
We distributed hundreds of copies of a leaflet explaining ‘ethnic charter flights’, our opposition to them and deportations in general with specific reference to Nigeria. The was no police presence and the reaction from people passing by was very supportive. Many who stopped to speak to people on the demonstration expressed shock that such mass expulsions were legal (its not sanctioned by the European convention) and disgust at how Nigerians were being treated with such contempt by the UK government.
The details of these flights are not publicly released so it is to difficult to piece together information about them. There appears to have been at least 82 persons on board from the UK, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland before more deportees were forced aboard in Spain. With the involvement of this number of European states, which is also believed to include Luxembourg, Slovakia and Malta, it comes as no surprise that there have been reports that this deportation flight was carried out in conjunction with Frontex – the EU Border Agency, of which Britain is not officially yet a part.
Due to pressure from anti-deportation campaigners on commercial airlines and a desire to circumvent their own legal system, the government appear to be stepping up the number of specially commissioned deportation flights. In the last week alone, along with this flight to Nigeria there was a flight to Afghanistan on Tuesday and a planned flight to Cameroon on Friday, which was thankfully cancelled. Another ‘ethnic charter flight’ is due to fly to Iraqi Kurdistan next week, no doubt the government have many more planned.
As the brutality and injustice of the Border regime is exposed, the natural response of the state is to move the more ‘unpalatable’ practises away from the public gaze. Opponents of injustice must come together to resist the growth of this highly secretive and immoral method of social control.