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Leaflet handed out at the airport

Leaflet handed out at the airport

On the most recent ‘Shut BMI Airlines day’ on December 20th, No Borders South Wales activists went to Cardiff International Airport where ‘Bmi baby’ operate flights from. Bmi baby is a subsidiary company of BMI Airlines. The aim of the visit was to hand out leaflets explaining how BMI Airlines make money from the practice of carrying people against their will to places they do not want to go to.

After only a few minutes of giving out  leaflets in the terminal, including to employees at the Bmi baby desk, the airport manager advised that he would have to call the police. Four officers from the ‘Airport Police Group’, armed with guns and tasers, quickly caught up with us and informed us that we were being stopped and searched under  Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. bmi-profits-from-human-miseryDespite questioning our obligation to provide our names and addresses, we were told that we would be arrested, detained and questioned by ‘Special Branch’ if we refused. The Stop and Search records that we were given identify no grounds for search apart from ‘operation aviation’.

If these officers had real concerns that we were a terrorist threat, then surely they would have actually searched us and our belongings. However they did neither. Their use of the Terrorism Act served to intimidate us and to stop our protest, as well as attempt to gather further information about us.

bmibabyheadsIt is another clear example of the intensification of the surveillance society and the growing criminalisation of protest. The state has used the fear of terrorism to bring in a raft of new legislation that give the police unprecedented powers. One particularly worrying change, as we and others have reported previously, is the emergence of an unaccountable, privatised police force. The implications these changes have for social control represent a major threat to everyone’s freedom.

Message from Bmi baby to BMI's CEO Nigel Turner

Message from Bmi baby to BMI's CEO Nigel Turner 'Don't make money deporting my mummy'

At around 6pm on Dec 15th, a group of no borders activists paid Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland a visit. As the event is sponsored by Bmi baby, a subsidiary of BMI Airlines, we thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to let the people of Cardiff know about BMI’s less palatable activities and of our growing campaign against them.

By sponsoring an event like Winter Wonderland, BMI attempt to portray themselves as a caring, family-friendly company. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Not wishing to be complete kill-joys, we made the effort and dressed up for the occasion. Sporting sad baby faces, we handed out over 100 leaflets informing people of BMI’s role of carrying migrants against their will and the huge profits they make from the human misery this causes.

winterwonderland2

We were aware that we were leafleting at a family-orientated event and we were not aiming to disrupt or block anyone’s enjoyment of Winter Wonderland. However, despite no negative comments or objections raised by members of the public, we were asked to leave by someone in charge. Leaflets were then given out at the entrances outside of Winter Wonderland to passers by, but even this activity was disrupted by a security officer who told us that we had to leave the area, as the land (including the roads and pavements) in front of the City Hall was all private property! He then snatched leaflets from the hands of two activists. However, we continued giving leaflets to people and left of our own accord after about an hour of leafleting.

winterwonderland3-2Information about the BMI campaign has appeared in PeaceNews, The St Petersburg Times and Pinknews.

This coming Saturday 20 December will be the third day of action against BMI Airlines. We once again call on all those who oppose the deportation industry, and the inhumane treatment of migrants who are subjected to the wider regime of control that it forms an integral part of, to contact BMI and let them know what you think of their profiteering from this cruel practice. A full list of contact details can be found on this leaflet. Being a Saturday,  we suggest that callers focus on phoning the Reservations & General Enquiries numbers :01332 854854 & 01332 648181 and the Bmi baby Reservations, 01332 648181.

The shut-down BMI campaign day coincides with a day of action that has been called in solidarity with the recent uprising in Greece, which erupted following the murder of a teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer in Athens on 6 December. As a migrant solidarity organisation we stand with all those struggling against state repression and for freedom and equality for all!

The call out states:

Friday 12/12, the assembly of the occupied Athens Polytechnic decided to make a callout for European and global-wide actions of resistance in the memory of all assassinated youth, migrants and all those who were struggling against the lackeys of the state, Carlo Juliani; the French suburb youths; Alexandros Grigoropoulos and the countless others, all around the world, a day of international action against state murders, Saturday 20.12.2008. Our lives do not belong to the states and their assassins! The memory of the assassinated brothers and sisters, friends and comrades stays alive through our struggles! We do not forget our brothers and sisters, we do not forgive their murderers. Please translate and spread around this message for a common day of coordinated actions of resistance in as many places around the world as possible.

We are planning to again distribute leaflets about BMI’s role in deportations at Winter Wonderland on Thursday 18 December. Meet 5.30pm on the National Museum steps.

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