Demonstrate at the prison gates!
60 angry protesters demanded the closure of Campsfield Immigration prison yesterday, 26/11/2011. Their noisy demonstration marked 18 years of immigration detention at Campsfield House and the imprisonment of over 20,000 people during this period.
Passionate chants of “Freedom Now!” and “Migrants Are Not Criminals!” rang out across the prison fences from supporters, as detainees inside responded by waving hands and red t-shirts out from their cell windows.
Anti-detention campaigners came from all corners of England to support the demonstration near Oxford that was organised by the Campaign to Close Campsfield – a local group active since the centre opened in 1993.
A local samba band ‘Breach of the Peace’ added carnival vibes to the protest, and a dozen activists arrived on bike after a feeder cycle ride from Oxford town-centre.
A man who had once been detained in Campsfield bravely stood outside the prison gates and shared his experiences of detention with the crowd. Afterwards, an anti-war activist highlighted the sordid relationship between British arms manufacturers and British wars with refugees fleeing conflict-zones and Britain deporting these refugees. This year the UK was the second biggest exporter of weaponry and almost a third of refugees worldwide came from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Campfield House Immigration Detention Centre holds up to 216 male detainees. FTSE 250 company ‘Mitie’ won the £27 million 5-year contract to run the prison in the spring. In August a man who was apparently facing imminent deportation was found hanged at Campsfield.
The protesters left before 2pm to allow visitors time to see their friends and families.
The Campaign to Close Campsfield hold regular protests outside the prison on the last Saturday of every month. For more info visit please their website — http://closecampsfield.wordpress.com/