Hunger strikes spread to 8 detention centres



As of yesterday (Sunday 15 March) we had heard of hunger strikes and other protests taking place in 8 detention centres across the UK, as prisoners started refusing food in Dungavel (Scotland, near Glasgow) and Dover. There is now rebellion in the majority of the UK’s migration prisons.

The other six known to be protesting are Yarl’s Wood (Bedfordshire), Harmondsworth and Colnbrook (Heathrow airport), Tinsley House and Brook House (near Gatwick Airport). (See previous report here.)

The new website Detained Voices is spreading the voices of people inside. Here are just a few fragments from the past days, there is much more on that site.

Colnbrook. Thursday March 12:

“At Colnebrook, more than 20 people on hungerstrike. And we go outside but they officers have closed the doors and we can’t go outside. I’ve strike for 5 days and no one has asked about us. No one cares. We eat or no eat, release or no release no one cares. It’s very bad here. You can’t believe it. It’s very bad for everything.”

Harmondsworth. Friday March 13:

“The response to the protest is like, they don’t have ears to hear it, they don’t have heart to beat.

“The water was shut for the whole day. No it wasn’t for maintenance work because if you see they shut the whole unit. The complete wing, was shut for the whole day. Because if you see, there are also Muslim people over there who used to pray five times a day and they couldn’t’ use the toilet, and they couldn’t use the toilet, and they couldn’t use water or anything to pray. I hear that they say it was shut for an hour or so for some six rooms but no it was shut for whole wing not only for six rooms, and it was shut for all day

“They don’t care what we are doing inside. We are dying. Because of protest yesterday, one of my mate went to hospital because of that, because he got ill. He started vomiting because he was not eating. He was on hunger strike, he got ill, and started vomiting, and now we don’t know where he is.” …

Dover. Friday March 13:

“We are not eating in Dover Detention – we having a strike. There are half of the people are already on strike. We are organising and talking with all the people. We are human beings.”

Dungavel. Friday March 13:

“Around 60 people have been on a foodstrike since Monday in Dungavel. They are not eating because they are upset at the way they have been treated for a long time. W want to see the immigration minister and we want to talk about a lot of things that have gone wrong. There are lot of things to ask:

  1. Why are the case workers telling lies. In bail summaries they tell lies.
  2. We want a time limit on how long you can detain people.
  3. Obviously, most of the people are from London and we are near Glasgow. About 80% are a from London and so we are away from your families and friends. It’s hard to drive and very expensive.
  4. The conditions we are living in – 8 people in one room. Too many people in one room.

Someone has already been to hospital and they’ve put him in a secure room for monitoring.”

Dungavel. Sunday March 15:

“There are about 70 people are still protesting in Dungavel. They are refusing to go to the kitchen to eat. There was a protest from people outside. There was the police and STV. We can’t really see them because of the walls but it is good to hear them. It shows the message is getting across, what we are trying to achieve.”As these statements make clear, the approach of the prison authorities is brutal force and isolation, knowing that few will hear the voices coming across the walls.

Active solidarity is vital.

Prisoners ask again and again that we spread their words and make more people know what is happening inside these largely forgotten prisons.

Just a small group or an individual shouting across the walls can help boost the strength of those on hunger strike. At most UK detention centres it is still possible to get close up to the cells where people are kept, so we can communicate visually and with sound.

But the border regime is all around us. We can attack it ourselves wherever we are.

The UK Home Office has signing and admin offices, holding cells, and bases from which they launch dawn raids, in many towns. Here is a list of some addresses for their “enforcement” teams.

Much of their work of running the detention centres is contracted out to private companies including Mitie, G4S, and Serco, which also have offices across the country and globally.

Join International Solidarity Campaign For Alexander Kolchenko


Alexander Kolchenko is a Crimean anarchist, social activist and antifascist who is held in captivity by the Russian authorities. Along with other Crimean activists, he has been kidnapped by the Russian FSB (ex-KGB) and is now detained as a political hostage in Lefortovo jail in Moscow. He is charged with committing “acts of terrorism” and “belonging to a terrorist community”.

Why Alexander Kolchenko is in the jail?

Alexander, who has undeniably proved his antifascist stance over many years, is facing preposterous accusations of belonging to “Right Sector”, a radical Ukrainian right-wing organization, whose real role in Ukrainian events is blown out of proportion by Russian official propaganda.

In modern Russia any activist — left-wing, anarchist or liberal — can be slandered as a member or sympathizer of “Right Sector”. This situation is comparable to the hunt for nonexistent “Trotskyists” under Stalin, or the McCarthy witch-hunt for communists. Putin’s authoritarian and nationalist regime, which uses in its propaganda everything from religious prejudices and conspiracy theories to outright racism, shamelessly steals “antifascist” rhetoric. And yet anyone who is considered bothersome is called a “fascist”, even if he/she stands on the opposite side of the political spectrum.

The case against antifascist Alexander Kolchenko and civil activist and film director Oleg Sentsov (investigators enrolled them into the same “terrorist” group) is political. It is meant to intimidate inhabitants of Crimea and prevent any resistance on the peninsula. The most authoritarian of methods are now used in annexed Crimea to repress all discontent. Many people were obliged to leave Crimea because their life and freedom were threatened: lawyers, left-wing activists, students and trade union activists, anarchists, antifascists and Crimean Tatar activists who have fallen victims of ethnic discrimination.

What threats does Alexander Kolchenko face?

A terrible prison sentence of up to 20 years threatens Alexander Kolchenko for a non-existent “terrorist attack” in which he was not involved. Kolchenko and other Ukrainian political prisoners are detained only in order to demoralize opposition by show trials. Their freedom is directly linked to the stability of the Putin regime: if we can shake the confidence of Putin in his impunity, the prisoners will be set free. There is no hope that Kolchenko, Sentsov and others would be judged by the law. Their arrest was unlawful, the charges against them are far-fetched. It’s not a mistake, the regime knows what it’s doing.

How can you help Alexander Kolchenko?

We’re asking international left-wing and libertarian forces for help. You can organize and lead actions of protest and solidarity, write letters to Kolchenko, send donations for lawyers and food parcels, help his family. It is also important to spread information about his case. Most of all, we need to dissociate ourselves from any forces that support aggressive expansion of Russian nationalism, even if they cover it up with “leftist” and “anti-imperialist” rhetoric. Putin’s regime is doing just fine without your sympathy, better save it for those who have become its victims.

When to start?

You can start right now by helping us to spread this text, translating it into other languages and sending it to comrades. We also strongly encourage you to organize demonstrations in support of Alexander Kolchenko and other political prisoners jailed in Russia from April 1 to 7, 2015. On April 11 and 16 Sentsov’s and Kolchenko’s custodies end, respectively. In the first half of April Lefortovo District Court of Moscow will decide again whether they should await judgment in jail or have the right to exit under the injunction not to leave or under home arrest. Only strong and massive pressure on the Putin regime, protests around the world would give a chance to set our comrades free. We demand their immediate discharge and the end of their prosecution.

More information below

Interview with Alexander Kolchenko…

Repressions against Crimean activists: political context…

Multilingual Facebook group

Contact us: freekolchenko[at]

German version

French version

Italian version

Ukrainian version

Russian version

Support Shilan Ozcelik

Write to Shilan at:

Silan Ozcelik
Prison No: A8733DK
HMP Holloway
Parkhurst Road
London N7 0NU

Shilan (Silhan) Ozcelik, an 18 year-old Kurdish comrade from London, has been held on remand in Holloway prison charged with preparing to commit acts of terrorism. Her charge relates to allegedly trying to join the fight against Daesh (ISIS) in Syria.

Shilan was arrested at Stansted airport in January after returning from a trip to mainland Europe, but appeared in court only last week charged with the offence under section 5 (1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006. She is accused of trying to join fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is banned as a terrorist organisation in the UK. It’s the first known prosecution in relation to people in the UK joining the fight against Daesh.

An emergency demo was held outside Holloway on Friday to support her. Shilhan is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 1st April – updates will be shared here if further demos are called.

Solidarity Against #Spycops

Bristol ABC:

Undercover is no excuse for abuse. Protest in Cardiff, Tuesday 24th!

Originally posted on South Wales Anarchists:

NCND1It has been over five years since we learned that Mark “Marco” Jacobs was not just another anarchist in the south Wales activist scene, but was actually an undercover police officer. We made all the relevant political points about the matter in our statement at the time: “They come at us because we are strong

Since then a number of activists are taking legal action against South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police in an attempt to hold the system to account.

spycopsSince we first filed an application in court, both sets of Police lawyers have attempted to obstruct justice, giving a “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” defence of all aspects of Officer Jacobs (and all other undercover police) deployment.

On Wednesday 25th March we will be in the Royal Courts of Justice in London attempting to strike out this non-defence.

The night before we are in…

View original 163 more words

Emma Sheppard moved to HMP Send

Prisoner Emma Sheppard was moved to HMP Send yesterday. Her new details are:

Emma Sheppard
HMP Send
Ripley Road
GU23 7LJ

Post that was sent to HMP Eastwood Park will be forwarded on (will just be a bit slower)


Protests spreading across UK detention centres. Deportation coach blocked at Gatwick.

harmondsworth 9 march

Tuesday evening 10 March. Rebellion is spreading across the UK’s “gulag archipelago” of migration prisons.

Hunger strikes and yard occupations and other protests are now taking place in at least 6 UK detention centres. The protests started last week in Yarl’s Wood (Bedfordshire) and in the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook migration prison complex near Heathrow airport. (See previous reports here and here.)

Today we heard that 50 people were on hunger strike in Tinsley House, with protests also at nearby Brook House, both inside the perimeter of Gatwick Airport. Hunger strike has also started at Moreton Hall (Nottinghamshire). There may well be others.

In Harmondsworth, some prisoners have now been on hunger strike for a week (picture above from yesterday). See this video featuring interviews by phone with some of the people detained there. Also see the Detained Voices website which is receiving and spreading words from friends on the inside.

Today there were due to be three mass deportation flights of prisoners from UK detention centres to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Albania. In particular, it is known that a number of people deported to Afghanistan recently, particularly from ethnic minorities, have been killed or imprisoned and tortured by state and para-state forces upon arrival in the country.

There have also been solidarity noise demonstrations taking place every day outside Harmondsworth and other prisons. This morning there were demos at the Home Office in Victoria at 10am, and then at both the Heathrow and Gatwick prison complexes in the afternoon.

Deportation coach blocked

At Brook House, Gatwick, people saw two coaches full of private security arrive around 3pm. As is common in deportation flights, the hired filth were from Tascor, the coaches from the Crawley based company WH Tours. The standard practice is for them to enter the detention centre and load up with prisoners, each person handcuffed to one screw, before heading off to an airport where a charter plane is waiting.

This time, around 6PM, as the coaches came back out of the prison, people managed to block the coach convoy and hold one up for a couple of hours, with one person superglued to the windscreen as the coach was stuck in the Gatwick periphery road. Such actions can obstruct deportation flights, potentially causing them to miss flight slots, or at least buying time for last minute legal challenges (as the system tries to rush people onto deportation flights without time to make their legal case, this can make a real difference.) We have heard that four people were arrested for this action.


coach of filth going in


coach blocked coming out

Harmondsworth protest update

Resistance continues today at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook.Over 70 people detained have gathered in the courtyard to continue the protest.Outside at 9am a group of people made a solidarity demonstration in support of the protests. They could hear people shouting ‘Freedom’ and ‘No Food’. The police were called to the protest and one person was pushed aggressively.

Guards and centre managers are asking detainees to go to their rooms and come to talk to the managers one-by-one or in pairs. Detainees have refused and ask the management/staff to come and listen to them in the yard.

Latest statements/testimonies from people inside today: Things are not right here:

The detainees demands are as follows:
An end to:

•        indefinite deprivation of liberty and human rights
•        the use of “Detained Fast Track”
•        bias and incompetence in case-handling by the Home Office
•        unlawful forced removals
•        stressful and degrading conditions which they describe as “mental torture” and which lead many to self-harm
•        overcrowded accommodation “comparable to animal cages”
•        refusals to return those who want to go back to their countries of origin

One person detained said today:
‘The protesters outside are really the energy for us’

Take action! Join the resistance!  A small group of people can make a lot of noise if they try outside the detention centres at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook! People are gathered in the courtyard and ask for us to go by and support.

For updates follow @AntiRaids or @followMFJ  or @detainedvoices