Hunger strikes by detainees at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire — one of 13 detention centres in Britain — ended after a month on March 22. However, campaigners have vowed to continue protests.
Despite announcing the end of their hunger strike, detainees said the Hunger for Freedom protests and refusal to participate in their own detention is ongoing.
The protesting detainees said they were still “hungry for their freedom and justice”, and will continue to organise and fight for their human rights.
People detained at Yarl’s Wood started a series of hunger and labour strikes and occupations on February 21 to call for an end to indefinite detention, mass deportations by charter flights and the mistreatment of detainees.
The original group of strikers are no longer at the centre. They have either been deported or released back into the community.
In a statement released on March 22, the detainees said: “This action only highlights the reasons we were driven to take such drastic measures. The Home Office, rather than being concerned with our welfare instead capitalised on our weakened state.”
Demonstrations took place on March 21 in Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol as part of the National Day of Action in solidarity with the women being held in the detention centre. Campaigners in London held a live telephone link-up with a hunger striker.
The detainees have called on everyone to show their solidarity and support: “We must all fight together to stop this spiral into division, intolerance and the disintegration of liberty, for liberty is easily lost but very hard earned as history proves over and over.”
[Reprinted from Morning Star Online.]