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WHILE detainees remain on hunger strike, dozens of anti-detention campaigners held a protest outside the Home Office in London today calling for its Brook House facility to be shut down.
The immigration removal centre (IRC) near Gatwick airport is notorious for its inhumane conditions.
A group of asylum-seekers from Yemen, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq who are being held there face deportation on August 26 and 27. At least five of them are thought to be on hunger strike in protest against their planned removals.
The demonstration in central London was organised by SOAS Detainee Support, which is based at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.
Yemeni refugee Ammar addressed the crowd via a phone call from Brook House.
The 24-year-old said: “We are just normal people, we don’t want their money, we don’t want a home, we don’t want a hotel: we only want a normal life.
“There are a lot of people here and we really need their help, we have come from war-torn countries; I travelled across Saudi Arabia, across Spain and across France — I didn’t find a good place until I arrived here.
“We are dying in silence.”
Ammar said that he could be deported on Thursday.
Ahead of the protest, the organisers said on Facebook: “Detention and deportation are part of an inhumane system that destroys lives and tears communities apart.
“The incarceration of migrants with precarious status is part of a wider political project which seeks to create a hostile environment for undocumented people in the UK.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Those in immigration removal centres are often dangerous foreign criminals or people who have no right to be here and we make no apology for seeking to remove them.”
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