Feb 25th-March 24th 2012: A months’ work for those lovely people of the UK Border Agency, safeguarding our nation from the invading hordes of furriners
February 25th: Massive raid on Reggaeton gig in Elephant & Castle; up to 90 arrests.
Police & UKBA turned up at a gig in the Coronet which was due to be attended by Don Omar (Puerto Rican reggaeton star with a large Latin@ following). They started harassing the queue of predominantly Latin American people outside the gig. It is reported that once people showed their tickets to security at the door, they were in turn passed to UKBA. Witnesses say up to 90 people were arrested through these immigration checks. Some people were deported within days of the raid.
Just like that; one minute you’re enjoying a Saturday night out with friends, the next you find yourself being forcibly removed on a flight to Bolivia.
There is talk of other raids having taken place that day but we have no concrete information as yet. None of this was reported in the mainstream press, although just one site ran the story of the gig: http://www.theprisma.co.uk/2012/03/12/immigration-raid-a-concert-with-a-very-bad-taste/
February 28th: Charter to Sri Lanka
UK deported up to 100 refugees to Sri Lanka, despite evidence of ongoing torture.
8th March: Charter to Nigeria, 120 people deported.
A number of detainees did, however, get their flight cancelled, and sent this message to supporters; “To all who Emailed/faxed/rang, your efforts are never in Vain, knowing there are people outside fighting for us inside is solidarity that keeps us strong and willing to fight on until UKBA stop serving Removal Directions and give us leave to remain. Keep up the good work”
12th March: Charter to Afghanistan – cancelled due to ‘security reasons’ – likely due to the effects of the Koran burnings, subsequent killing of dozens of protestors, and the massacre in Kandahar. Apparently its safe enough to deport Afghan teenagers but not to touch down in Kabul if you are a British citizen working as a hired thug “escort” for Reliance
One of the many due to go on that flight was Aziz Hussini, who was detained after the UKBA raided registry office on the day of his wedding, and dragged him away from his British partner, alleging it was a sham marriage. Obviously it’s inconceivable that migrants and British nationals could have a genuinely loving relationship.
Aziz and dozens of others are still in detention, awaiting deportation. More info on Aziz’s case here: http://unitycentreglasgow.org/?page_id=470 and here http://ncadc.cmph.org/o/IsXN-QeWXqFnP4bxUg7jBg
19th March: Charter flight to Pakistan. It looks like the government is intending to make Pakistan another regular destination for mass deportations, to add to the list (Afghanistan, Nigeria, Jamaica – and in the past year Sri Lanka and Ghana).
28th March: Planned charter to Afghanistan.
This is the flight that had originally been scheduled for 12th, was then rescheduled for 26th, and the latest news is it has been put off again to wednesday 28th.
Our info comes from contact with members of particular communities and from detainees, so it is possible that there are other charters which go under the radar. Charters to Afghanistan are currently the most frequent, taking place at a rate of one every two weeks.
But where there is power, there is resistance.
Daniel Ngonga Nsevel, a Congolese detainee has recently embarked on a hunger strike in Colnbrook immigration prison after guards beat him up during a deportation attempt last month: https://stopdeportations.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/detainee-starts-hunger-strike-after-deportation-lynching/
Over the past month or so some activists from No Borders and the Stop Deportation network have been busy in the Peckham area, where many migrants from countries currently targeted for deportation flights live and work. We have held a public meeting on resisting deportation; distributed hundreds of leaflets in the streets and to people shopping and working in the grocers, barbers, butchers and mobile phone shops; and today, ran a skillshare on how to challenge immigration checks. Among the the things we learnt during the workshop was the fact that immigration checks take place regularly on buses and at bus stops in the very early hours of the morning, as UKBA know that many migrants have low-paid jobs as cleaners or work night shifts; and that in dawn raids on those housed in NASS accommodation (government housing for eligible asylum seekers), NASS now give UKBA keys to the premises to allow immigration officers to reach them before they have a chance to resist. This means that refused asylum seekers wake up to find immigration officers standing by their beds ready to drag them off to detention centres.
These outreach events have led to members of different groups and communities meeting and starting to build a more concerted grassroots resistance to the UK’s oppressive immigration policies.