Iraq deportation blockaded

IssueSeptember 2011
News by David Polden

At 4.45pm on 21 June, No Borders and refugee solidarity activists blockaded the access road to the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres near Heathrow airport, to stop a mass deportation flight to Baghdad.

About 70 Iraqi refugees, mostly Kurds, were due to be flown out on a specially-chartered flight at 11pm. They had been assembled at the centres from other detention centres around the country, including 20 from Campsfield who were on hunger strike against deportation.

The blockade involved three lock-ons, each one encasing the arms of two people in blocks of concrete mixed with steel, glass, and other materials. Around 30 others gave support, including members of the detainees’ families and people from the Iraqi Kurdish community.

A last-minute court injunction forced the home office to call off the flight, so the blockaders decided to end their protest at 8.40pm, after making sure that the prisoners were safely off the buses assembled to take them to the airport. The organisers claimed the action was an important step in escalating resistance to the deportation machine here and overseas