'I have nothing to lose. If I have to live in one of those detention centres again they might as well kill me.'
That is what Raymond Philips, an asylum seeker from Sri Lanka, told 100 people packed into the Bowen Community Theatre in Bedford last week. The meeting was called by the Campaign to Stop Arbitrary Detentions at Yarl's Wood.
The Yarl's Wood detention centre is the government's latest prison for asylum seekers. It cost £80 million to build and will house up to 900 people.
The representative from Group 4, the private company running the centres, was hammered by the audience. The speaker from the Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers was cheered when he spoke up for refugees, and demanded an end to sanctions on Iraq and the cancellation of Third World debt.