Asylum seekers and fellow passengers resist airline deportations. Resistance is not futile!

How can 60 men vanish? Yesterday morning at Tinsley House immigration removal centre (IRC) near Gatwick airport, 15-20 men (Kurdish Iraqis) were being hurried to get ready to board a coach. Several were still waiting for responses from their solicitors, but their phones were quickly removed. At Colnbrook, another IRC at Heathrow airport, detainees had just received the news to get ready, and half an hour later all their phones were off too. Meanwhile at Dover there were about 20-30 men being hurried to board the coaches at about 11.30am, again phones off. When they asked where they were going to be taken so that they could let their families know, they were told, “Thats a Home Office Secret”. No departure time, flight number, airline, destination. So that’s around 60 Kurdish Iraqis being rounded up to be whisked away by the British state with maximum efficiency, minimum information, maximum fear. But this Iraqi Charter Flight never left the UK. Early reports suggest that detainees were forcibly put on to a Hamburg International plane. The plane sat on runway for four/five hours (probably because Erbil was unapproachable due to poor visibility caused by a sand storm). Then a ‘disturbance’ broke out, one detainee sustaining injuries, and a plane window was broken. The pilot said the plane was not air worthy and all detainees were removed from plane. All detainees are now back in removal centres. Dozens of Iraqi Kurds have been forcibly removed into an extremely dangerous and very often deadly environment – is it any surprise that they are resisting? These removals must end now.

Important update by International Federation of Iraqi Refugees-IFIR : Forcible Deportation of Iraqi asylum seekers ended in violence

Earlier this year, in a press release by the Respect Nigerians Coalition, it was explained how a man Ayodeji Omotade had been charged with threatening/abusive/insulting/disorderly behaviour towards British Airways (BA) crew, as a result of intervening in a violent deportation flight to Lagos on March 27, 2008, from Heathrow, London. Despite widespread public protest, including internationally, the case against Mr Omotade is going ahead, although his trial (due to take place Tomorrow Thursday 18th September at Uxbridge Magistrates Court) has been adjourned ? no new date yet. He sends his heartfelt thanks everyone who wrote messages of support.

Join a peaceful protest the day before at 12 noon, WEDNESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER, 2008, at British Airways PLC, Waterside (HAA3), Harmondworth, UB7 0GB.

Mr Omotade asks: “What would you do if someone on your flight was
distressed and crying out for help? Would you stay silent or would you
speak? I spoke and B A didn’t like it. This type of corporate tyranny
must be challenged and stopped.”

More details: Respect Nigerians Coalition: http://www.respectnigerians.com/BoycottBA.pdf

Note: the recently failed charter airline & tour operator XL Airways was previously forced by activist pressure to pull out from deportation flights. More pressure can and must be put on airlines not to participate in forced removals and deportations.
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Cardiff Gay Radical Artist Asylum Seeker Snatched! Protest Wednesday.

Babakhan Badalov, (Babi) the openly gay, internationally renowned radical artist and poet from Azerbaijan was arrested on the morning of 16th September during a reporting session in Cardiff. There will be a protest on Wednesday 17th September against Babi?s incarceration outside of the place where he was grabbed; the UK Border Agency offices at 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff at 12 noon. All are welcome. This protest will only last one hour so people can come along in their lunch-breaks, and show your support with any banners or placards that you are able to make. Details and complains to Home Office from No Borders Wales. Friend and activist Hywel Bishop said: ?I?ve never seen anyone so scared. If Babi gets sent home he faces persecution from the state for his art, beatings from the local community, as well as the threat of honour killing from his family because they can?t live with the fact that he?s gay.?

On the same day, in Nottingham, a Zimbabwean women was detained at The Bridewell police station. There are many more signing detentions and dawn raids we don’t hear about. The inhuman harassment of asylum seekers in Britain is continuous. How much clearer can it be that nation states are the enemy of any freedom-loving person?
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Asylum seeker and refugee destitution has doubled in 18 months, 4 times for children. Rough sleeping increased by a third.

The following newpaper article about a study that revealed a ‘doubling’ of asylum seeker and refugee destitution in 18 months is from the Guardian and was forwarded by NCADC. If you are on the ground and count amongst the ‘refused’ this will of course come as no surprise. But the answer is not to make the Home Office more efficient – the goal must surely be to counter the whole idea that people can be deprived of the basic necessities of life. Having to resort to charities and church handouts is an undignified last resort, although less so when asylum seekers are able to be involved in a process of self-help like many do at the NNRF. On the otherhand, it is good that so many in the wider community are seeing the need to blatantly defy the government’s attempts to punish the failed and refused by denying them food and shelter. Other examples are the Oxford parents who have organised to foster asylum seeker children so their parents cannot so easily be deported, and community action against dawn raids by police and immigration officials who turn up to take people away in Newcastle, Glasgow and elsewhere. All this is saying to the state – we’ll refuse your authority if you refuse those in our community. This is at least one positive outcome from this distressing situation, because state power is at the root of border and immigration misery.

Asylum seeker and refugee destitution has doubled, says trust

Destitution among refused asylum seekers and refugees in Britain has more than doubled in 18 months, according to a report which describes government policy on the issue as “unacceptable”.

The number of children affected has quadrupled and rough sleepers have increased by a third, says the follow-up study by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The trust prompted a national debate in March last year after revealing how many failed asylum seekers were surviving only through charity and church support. Chaired by the broadcaster and writer Kate Adie, and including Sayeeda Warsi, now Lady Warsi, the Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion, the original inquiry highlighted an “invisible population which can neither go home nor contribute to British society”.
Full article: Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, Thursday July 24, 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/24/i…dpublicservices
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In London: Radical history open meeting about asylum seeker revolt on Tues 24 June + demo against EU Return Directive on Monday 16 June

Invitation to a Radical History Discussion – open meeting:
Resistance in the UK’s Detention Centres in the Last Decade
Date & Time: Tuesday 24 June 2008, 7 pm.

Venue: T&G, Transport House, 128 Theobald’s Road, London, WC1X 8TN Map.

Also in London on Monday 16th June, details on http://www.outrageousdirective.org/
Demonstrate at 12 noon outside the London office of the European Commission at 8 Storey’s Gate, SW1P 3AT [Map] against the “Return Directive” to be voted on by the European Parliament on 17th or 18th June 2008 which will allow EU member states to:
* Detain non-EU migrants for up to 18 months
* Detain and deport migrants including vulnerable people, unaccompanied minors (under 18 years of age) and pregnant women
* Expel unaccompanied minors and other migrants to a country where they have neither family nor legal support
* Ban an expelled migrant from re-entering any part of the EU for up to 5 years (although UK is already looking at making this 10 for some deportees, see:
http://www.ncadc.org.uk/Newszine95/HC321.html ).

See also: Shut Down EU Migrant Hunters! – Actions against Frontex
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