Yarl's Wood: 68 Women still refusing food

Students and campaigners commenced a solidarity hunger strike at the London Offices of Serco this morning, Wednesday 10 February

Demo in solidarity with Yarl’s Wood Women
Friday 12th February 2010 at 2:30 pm

Serco’s offices
18-22 Hand Court (off High Holborn)
London WC1V 6JF

London Detainee Solidarity Network have called for a demo this Friday at 2.30pm in support of the Yarls Wood hunger strikers. Serco manage Yarl’s Wood on behalf of UKBA.

Please bring banners and instruments. In solidarity, London No Borders

Further info contact: noborderslondon@riseup.net

Solidarity hunger strikers condemn violent response to peaceful hunger strike of detainees at Yarl’s Wood

Full message from SOAS Detainee Support Group here…

This morning students and campaigners commenced a solidarity hunger strike at the London Offices of Serco. Protesters will entertain a constant presence for 2 days between 8:00am and 8:00pm to draw attention to the violent response of the centre staff and UK Border Agency (UKBA) to the peaceful hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, Bedford as a build-up to a London-wide protest held at the same location on Friday at 2:30pm.

Over 75 women detained in Yarl’s Wood IRC began a hunger strike on the evening of Thursday 04/02/10. In their statement the women call for an end to detention and appeal to the UKBA to “allow enough time and make resources available to residents who need to fully present their cases”2. On Monday 08/02/10 this protest was broken up by force: 70 women were locked in a corridor for up to 8 hours without access to water, health care or sanitary products. Many collapsed and twenty who climbed out of a window were alleged to have been beaten and remain in isolation.

One woman trapped in the corridor reports that “the guards were doing a roll call by holding up photos of us to the window. They did not help us when women started to collapse.” While some officers stood by laughing at the women having to urinate on the floor of the corridor, others made sure not to film their colleagues assaulting the women. Another woman outraged over the guards’ behaviour says: “Many guards behave like we are in prison. They should go to the army, this place is not for them.”

Protesters are calling for Serco to end their complicit behaviour in kettling peaceful protesters inside the detention centre without allowing access for emergency services. Protester Jane Peder says, “Serco is running Yarl’s Wood as a business at the cost of women and families who come to the UK to ask for protection. Serco staff is acting as front-line immigration staff – they clearly overstepped their capacities and need to be held accountable for their actions against the women at Yarl’s Wood.

“To date, women who sustained injuries have not received adequate treatment in the privately run health care centre. Many women have been threatened and intimidated by centre staff. Four women were being held at Bedford Police Station without charges (have now been moved to Colnbrook STHC) . Regardless, many women are continuing the hunger strike because they have not been given a response to their demands.

“Without response to what the women have asked for from the UKBA and without response to what happened at Yarl’s Wood we will not stop.”, says protester Carry Jon.

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For further information and questions, please contact:
Email: soas_detainee_support@riseup.net
Tel: 075 4512 5188 or 077 9249 6066
1. The Serco Offices are situated on 22 Hand Court, Holborn, WC1V 6JF.
UKBA subcontracts Serco to run Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres.
2. The full list of demands is available online here

Source for this Message:
SOAS Detainee Support Group
No Borders London

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