OVER 2,000 people joined the biggest, and angriest, demonstration yet last Saturday against the Dungavel refugee detention centre in Lanarkshire (right). Scotland's 'asylum prison' has been the subject of protests since it opened two years ago. Saturday's demo began with furious demonstrators banging on the huge metal barrier around the centre chanting, 'Shut it down!'
The crucial factor on Saturday was that the Scottish TUC called the march. Trade unionists turned out in good numbers, with banners from the TGWU, FBU, Unison, AUT and, most noticeably, from the EIS teachers' union. Many refugees came including Mercy Ikolo from Cameroon, who was recently released from Dungavel.
Labour MP Michael Connarty declared 'shame' on both immigration minister Beverley Hughes, for her defence of Dungavel, and fellow Labour MPs who refuse to speak out against government asylum policy. Other speakers included STUC general secretary Bill Speirs, SNP leader John Swinney and Scottish Socialist Party MSP Rosie Kane.