OVER 80 people joined a 'free the refugees' rally at Haslar immigration removals centre in Gosport last Sunday. The rally was organised by Portsmouth Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers and supported by campaigners from Southampton, Oxford, Yarls Wood and the No Borders group in Brighton.
They denounced the racist scapegoating of asylum seekers by the press and politicians and called for an end to the detention of refugees. Speakers included a former Haslar detainee who described the appalling conditions inside.
Brief phone contact was established with one of the prisoners inside, who protested bitterly at being held for more than two years. A combination of speeches, chanting, music, megaphone siren and balloons launched over the prison walls made for a lively and effective protest during national Refugee Week.