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News arrived on Tuesday afternoon that the Saleh family had been given removal directions for 8am the next morning. Friends of the family immediately scrambled to get to the hated ‘Barnardo’s’ detention centre ‘Cedars’, near Pease Pottage. By midnight we had some idea of numbers – around 20, or 25 tops – and all met up nearby for an impromptu picnic and a chat about what to do. Everyone was on the ball, everyone determined to do whatever they could to hold up that bus.

While we were talking two devastating pieces of news came through. An injunction had been passed to stop the Saleh family’s deportation but after a phone call from the UKBA explaining that the Border Agency had spent £60,000 on chartering a plane to deport the family, Judge Eady had reversed his decision and cancelled the injunction.

While we were reeling from that we were told that Mrs Saleh, a personal friend to some of us and the mother of one of our closest mates, had slit her wrists.

People fell to their knees, weeping. Others held each other tightly. As phone calls were made to scrape together further news, a picture emerged. Mrs Saleh was alive and, despite the mental and physical harm done to her by this situation, was still due to be deported. In her desperation she had written a message in blood on the wall of her cell: “I only wanted to save my children.”

We turned up at Cedars in drips and drabs, approaching on foot from the north in small, discrete groups who could duck into hedges and cover the white of their faces as headlights swelled in the darkness. At around 1.30 the first group was stopped by a police car near the entrance to the centre but others slipped past and melted into shadows and hedges. Police followed, trying to pick people out with torches but couldn’t seem to get a handle on our numbers. People moved up and down the road, drifting around the gates to the centre, and gradually moving to block both gates. A line of police formed up on the left gate but left the other gate alone as a small number of people were already clinging securely to the bars – they stayed there all night.

There was a stand-off for a good hour and a half. More police arrived and blocked the left gate, asking demonstrators to get off the drive but not trying to move them. The right hand gate, with people still clinging on, was further blocked by the arrival of a police car. The atmosphere was tense, as whispered plans were formed and reformed. More cop vehicles arrived on the scene, and a dog unit could be heard, gradually moving around behind the demonstrators at the left gate. People kept milling around, with no consistent numbers on either gate but lots of movement between the two. Police numbers seemed to be around the 30-40 mark.

The bus arrived at left gate around 3am. A line of us linked arms and tried to stand in its path but were roughly pulled apart and moved aside by police – the manhandling was quite intense considering our low numbers and some of the cops seemed rather wound up, barking at us to “back off” while holding us two-on-one in assorted wrist and arm locks.

That was when the screaming started. As the ruck was broken down one of ours was lying face down on the edge of the drive with two pigs on top of her, wailing at the top of her lungs for a medic. The medic was restrained a couple of metres away but the cops would neither let him go, nor get the injured woman the attention she needed. As the bus went into the centre everyone held at left gate except for this woman was shoved onto the grassy area between left and right gate. The medic kept an eye on the injured who was now frozen in a dodgy kneeling position, and kept asking the cops to let him through, call one of their medics, get an ambulance or at least support the person’s drooping head as the back injury could have been some kind of spinal. None of the cops seemed to give a toss but eventually an ambulance was called, although one of ours had already called one.

As the bus pulled through the gates a shadow darted across in front of it, dived beneath the chassis and locked itself on to the vehicle’s front axle. Immediately the call went up NOT to drive or try to drag the hero away. The bus was immobilised!

It was a good half hour before the ambulance arrived for our injured one, during which time no support or first aid was given by the police, no medic was called from Cedars, our medic was prevented from assessing the woman and the cop assigned to ‘looking after’ her pretty much just wandered around with her hands in her pockets.

Then, after around 45 minutes, the Fire Brigade arrived to cut away our lock-on hero. People tried to persuade them they were enabling an illegal deportation and that the family would face honour killing, violence and rape if they complied with the police. Unfortunately the fire crew did not show their usual courage and made no attempt to delay their work. This horrific system is made up of thousands of people ‘only doing their job’. Lock-on guy was busted for aggravated trespass but has now been released on bail without charge. Perhaps the CPS is unsure whether a lock on in this case counts as disruption of a ‘lawful’ activity, as the deportation itself is so dodgy…

Then came a quiet spell. Some of us watched silhouettes – possibly those of the family – waving from a first floor window. Others attempted to engage individual cops with the issue. Mostly we got blank faces, and cowardly rubbish about ‘following orders’. However, we pressed on, talking to them anyway undeterred by their refusal to talk to us. Eventually some of them wavered, clearly interested now. We attempted to persuade them that they, as individuals, had full autonomy at every moment of their lives but were using their energy and choices to protect an activity they couldn’t actually defend in conversation. Another cop was welling up when we explained that Mrs Saleh’s 17 year old daughter now faces FGM, rape and forced marriage. She was wiping tears away as we told her about our friend in Cardiff, desperate for her mother not to be sent away to her death, and wondered aloud what we would do without our own mothers. We explained that her shield of passive aggression, training and discipline was a barrier to her expressing the healthy emotions she clearly felt about the situation, that we were there because we felt something and she was there because she wasn’t allowed to. I hope a degree of soul searching has followed that conversation.

More cops arrived on site, and around 5.30 we got the message that the family had been moved from their rooms to board the coach. This was make or break time.

The cops around left gate had surged and now an escort van was waiting for the bus in the driveway. We were hideously outnumbered. Someone counted 30 cop vehicles on Brighton Road – more than one car for each of us – and who knows how many cops. The bus moved to the gate at around 6.30am, running very late. It had been held up for hours but was now implacable. One of ours tried to stand in front of the escort van and collapsed rather than be moved away. Physically restrained and overwhelmed, we could do nothing but shout and struggle as the coach drove past.

We piled into cars and tore down the motorway but could find no trace of the bus. One car went to Heathrow but no-one would tell us anything, the others went to Gatwick and came up blank but ran into a ton of armed cops, who weren’t too pleased by the sudden appearance of ‘No Borders’ types and gave our crew some hassle. Sadly, the Saleh family was deported at 8am but we couldn’t even confirm this for hours.

We now have more details. The day after the Director of Prisons issued a damning report ordering G4S to stop using force on minors in detention centres, Mrs Saleh’s 17 year old son was beaten up under the noses of sell-out charity Barnardo’s for resisting deportation. The family called us from an airport in Italy before being bundled onto a Denim Air charter flight and landing in Cairo that evening. They received some form of hassle from Egyptian airport staff and are now lying low, waiting for the next move.

Before their plane even touched down an appeal launched by Mrs Saleh’s solicitor was gathering serious momentum. Due process has been undermined in deporting this family before their judicial review hearing. A judge has reversed an injunction based on the cost of the family’s charter flight after being leaned-on at the 11th hour by some UKBA scumhole. And a minor was beaten up at a Barnardo’s-run detention centre within 24 hours of fierce condemnation of such practices by the Director of Prisons. These people are going to learn that they are not invulnerable and there are serious legal consequences to their actions.

Love and rage to all people facing detention or deportation, and to everyone fighting this sick, sick border regime.

PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION in Support of SALEH FAMILY!

Saturday 27th October, 11.30am

Aneurin Bevan Statue on Queen St, Cardiff.

Bring signs, banners, instruments and friends!

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Despite the best efforts of a handful of friends and family who blockaded Cedars detention centre and held up the coach for 5 hours, Mrs Saleh and her children were taken to an airport on Wednesday morning and deported to Egypt. However, the appeal against this course of action is building serious momentum as there have been a huge number of irregularities, illegalities and clear cases of abuse surrounding these events. Watch this space – we will be posting a detailed update really soon.

DEMONSTRATE! In Support of the Saleh Family

11.30am, Saturday 27th October

Aneurin Bevan Statue, Queen St, Cardiff.

Bring banners, signs, messages of support, and of course everyone you know!

Along with other groups who have been calling for the end of detention for children through two campaigns “Outcry! – End Child Detention” and “End Child Detention Now” No Borders South Wales also feels it is long overdue to put an end to such a practice.

The damaging effects on physical and mental health were clearly outlined and backed by evidence from studies as detailed in the joint statement “Significant Harm” by the British Paediatric Mental Health Group (2009).

But although children are particularly vulnerable when detained, it must not be overlooked that all people detained are experiencing the same horrific conditions whatever their age.

The UK is unique in Europe for Read the rest of this entry »

Mashal Jabari (right) with his older brother who has already gained refugee status

Mashal Jabari has been released, the emergency campaign spearheaded by the Welsh Refugee Council has managed to release a 14-year-old Afghan orphan from detention.

Staff at the Cardiff office of the UK Border Agency had insisted that he was 18 and held him in adult detention ahead of deportation next week. He was released from Campsfield House IRC early yesterday evening following a Judicial Review where the Judge ruled that at present – until another full age assessment is completed – Mashal is to be considered 14 years of age and placed with Read the rest of this entry »

The Welsh Refugee Council is calling on the UK Border Agency to release Mashal Jabari, 14 years of age, from Campsfield detention prison, and to suspend removal directions until a full assessment of his age can be made. It is very unusual for the Welsh Refugee Council to comment on individual cases, which adds extra urgency to the compelling compassionate grounds for why this boy should be allowed to remain.

Zaki Jabar, aged 15, arrived in the UK alone and extremely traumatised in November 2008. He came from Afghanistan and when he left his father was missing presumed dead and his mother was sick. His family had been attacked after his father had given assistance to the American forces, and Zaki had seen his sister killed. He was placed in foster care in Leicester by Rutland Social Services and given Refugee Status. He is currently sitting his GCSEs. He was anxious to trace his younger brother Mashal.

Mashal Jabari arrived in the UK in October last year, and claimed asylum on arrival. By then he knew that both his parents were dead. He was assessed as being over 18 even though he said he was 14. He was sent to Cardiff where he was Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s the slightly delayed latest issue of Movement, events over the last few weeks have meant this issue has changed a few times before publication. As is often a problem with print media our two cover stories may develop considerably within hours of publication. You can keep up to date with these stories and more on the Movement website, which hosts extensive links from across the movement for freedom of movement and equality for all (and beyond).

click on image to download .pdf

Articles this issue include:

HELP US MAKE THIS MOVEMENT:

  1. print, photocopy and distribute copies in your local area.
  2. share this link online, forward it to anyone who might be interested, or better still, publish your own article promoting the newsletter.
  3. join our e-mail list and Read the rest of this entry »

Over forty people braved the wind and rain outside the UK Border Agency on Newport Road on Wednesday to protest against the first Joint EU Charter deportation flight, which went to Nigeria. We gave out 150 copies of a leaflet by Stop Deportations to Nigeria, which were well received by everyone we spoke to.

At the same time as we were holding our demonstration in Cardiff there was a protest outside the Nigeria Embassy in London called by the Campaign Against Immigration Controls and No One Is Illegal. It was good to see plenty of people from other political groups coming together to condemn the UKBA and call for freedom of movement for all. We welcome the involvement of everyone who has a problem with the highly bigoted and discriminatory practises of the border regime.

The profile of the protest was significantly raised by the revelations of former UKBA employee Louise Perrett who’s experiences show the agency to be institutionally racist. Louse will be speaking about her Read the rest of this entry »

Along with our protest in Cardiff on Wednesday, at the same time there will be a protest outside the Nigerian Embassy in London. The following statement has been published by No Deportations to Nigeria and is signed by ourselves:

Yet another joint mass deportation flight to Nigeria is scheduled for 3rd February, 2010. If it went ahead, the flight will carry to Lagos dozens of refugee women, men and children from a number of EU countries, including the UK. The flight will be operated by the EU external borders agency, Frontex, and funded by the EU directly, as opposed to individual member states, under a new scheme agreed at the EU summit in Brussels last year. Unlike previous flights, which were given code numbers PVT007 and PVT008, the code number given to Wednesday’s flight is ‘JEUC’, which presumably stands for ‘Joint EU Charter’.

Hundreds of Nigerians have been forcibly deported from various EU countries over the past few years. In 2009, there were 17 joint flights to Nigeria operated by Frontex, deporting a total of 849 men and women and their dependants from Austria, Italy, Ireland, the UK and other European countries. The UK took part in four of these flights and organised two of them (one jointly with Ireland).

Many of the deportees are victim of cult and gang violence, torture, rape, female genital mutilation, armed conflict and Read the rest of this entry »

On Wednesday, 3rd February at 5.30pm, there will be a specially chartered deportation flight to Nigeria. At 4.30pm we will be holding a protest against this outside the UK Border Agency, General Buildings, 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB (map).

There have been previous deportation flights to Nigeria from the UK, (we’ve protested against them before) but ‘Flight PVT-JEUC’  will be the first Joint European Union Charter, a new scheme agreed at the EU summit in Brussels last year. It will be operated by Frontex and funded by the EU, as opposed to individual member states.  In December BMI organised a flight to Afghanistan and Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s the first issue of 2010, as usual packed with the latest news and opinion from the movement for free migration.

click on image to download .pdf

Articles this issue include:

HELP US MAKE THIS MOVEMENT:

  1. print, photocopy and distribute copies in your local area.
  2. share this link online, forward it to anyone who might be interested or better still publish your own article promoting the newsletter.
  3. join our e-mail list and Read the rest of this entry »

click to download the .pdf

The second issue of the No Borders newsletter has hit the streets, and is packed with all the latest happenings in the struggle for freedom of movement and equality for all.
Articles this issue include:

HELP US MAKE THIS MOVEMENT:

  1. print, photocopy and distribute copies in your local area.
  2. share this link online, forward it to anyone who might be interested or better still publish your own article promoting the newsletter.
  3. join our e-mail list and encourage others to Read the rest of this entry »

advert The No Borders UK Newsletter has been rotated around local No Borders  groups for the last few years. Last month’s  network gathering in London, signalled that it is now our turn to produce the publication. We  intend to create a more regular and broad based periodical, drawing in others that work to end the inhuman cycle of detention, deportation and death through the abolition of migration control. As a statement of intent we are re-naming and re-launching!

cover1

click to download the .pdf

SO… (drum roll…) we proudly present the first issue of ‘Movement’, a monthly newsletter covering the latest updates from the No Borders Network and beyond. This début issue is packed with articles on (follow the links find the original unedited versions);

Help us make this Movement:

  1. print, photocopy and distribute copies in your local area.
  2. share this link online, forward it to anyone who might be interested or better still publish your own article promoting the newsletter.
  3. join our e-mail list and encourage others to do the same.
  4. contact the editorial collective and Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday’s charter flight to Iraq was returned to the UK with the majority of the Iraqi deportees returning to UK immigration detention centres. Sadly 10 of those on board were left in Baghdad.

The Stop Deportation Network together with The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees have issued a  press release with the following statements from those who have been returned to Brook House detention centre, Gatwick:

“when we landed in Baghdad an Iraqi man got on dressed in army uniform, with seven other guards with Kalashnikovs.  He asked the immigration officers why they brought us here then asked us if we wanted to come back.  He said those of you who want to come back you get off, the rest of you stay where you are.

He told the immigration officers to go away and not try to send people back by force again.

So they took us back to Italy and we had to change planes there.  About three people refused to move plane and they were beaten by security guards.  They’ve got injuries from that.  There were 130 security guards on the plane.  Why did they need so many?  There were even some arguments between the British and Italian securities.”

‘K’, who did get off in Baghdad, said this morning he did not do go voluntarily and did not Read the rest of this entry »

On the morning of 15th October, 39 people who had sought asylum in the UK were deported to Baghdad, Iraq on a chartered flight.

The Air Italy flight left from Stansted Airport, named “Operation Rangat” by the UK Border Agency. This was the first forced mass expulsion of people to southern Iraq from the UK.

no-deportations-to-iraq (2)An eyewitness told the International Federation for Iraqi RefugeesWhen my friends started shouting they couldn’t go back these big security guards handcuffed them and strong-armed them out of the bus onto the plane.  They were treated like prisoners: it was like watching the footage from Guantanamo

Violence and bloodshed continue in Iraq, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year. There are also widespread food shortages and lack of access to clean drinking water in many areas of Iraq.

Prior to such charter flights, deportees and any legal representatives are not told the date or flight on which they are being deported. This frustrates migrants’ opportunities for legally challenging a deportation and makes it Read the rest of this entry »

CelticCrusaders_2034654One of the more recent targeting of ‘undesirable foreigners’by the UK Border Agency  has hit the Celtic Crusaders rugby league club. The UKBA has ordered six players and their families out of the country by 7th September and banned them from the UK for 10 years.

The players in question; team captain Jace Van Dijk, club record try scorer Tony Duggan, last year’s League One Player of the Year Damien Quinn, ex-Queensland State of Origin player Josh Hannay, as well as Darren Mapp and Mark Dalle Cort, are guilty of playing rugby football without the right paperwork.

It’s been alleged that the six players did not reveal their intention to play professional or semi-professional sport when applying for working holiday and student visas. This is hardly surprising given that Read the rest of this entry »

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