Family and supporters of people deported to Jamaica—and those facing the threat of deportation—plan to protest in Windrush Square in Brixton, south London, on Saturday. They have been boosted by the release—at least temporarily—of one person who had been readied for deportation.
The protest comes after the Tories’ deported 17 people to Jamaica last month—and with many more facing forcible removal on further charter flights. It has been called by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) South London, Movement for Justice detainee rights group and the Lambeth Unison union’s black workers’ group.
Christopher, who was released from Harmondsworth immigration detention centre on bail on Wednesday, plans to join the protest. He was locked up since 20 January—and only narrowly escaped deportation because of a last-minute court order.
Christopher told Socialist Worker, “I just hope I don’t get sent back inside, the whole thing is disgusting and I am so, so frustrated.
“I was granted bail at 11am on Wednesday, but I didn’t get out for five hours.
“I was asking why and someone said it’s was because they were waiting to get my medical records. When you were trying to deport me to Jamaica it didn’t take five hours. When you were trying to deport me to Jamaica you didn’t have to wait to get my medical records.”
While Christopher is “relieved to be back home in south London”, he still fears that he could be deported to Jamaica at any time.
Margaret, Christopher’s partner, has been campaigning on the streets with SUTR South London and speaking at workplaces and union branches. The battle continues to win Chris's right to stay permanently in safety in Britain.
The Tories have tried to justify the deportations by claiming that all those on the charter flight were “serious criminals".
Pastor Chris is heading up the campaign to bring back Linton Murray, who was one of the 17 people on the charter flight. He told Socialist Worker, “We’re trying to raise awareness about what’s happened because the government and media have been misconstruing.
“The crime he was sentenced for was under ‘joint enterprise’, a law that has now been abolished. If he had done it today, Linton would be free.”
Pastor Chris says that he fears for 32 year old Linton, who had lived in Britain since the age of 12. “He doesn’t really know anyone,” he said. “One of his cousins in Jamaica was killed as a result of gang violence, so he is at risk.”
Families of deportees and detainees plan to lead a “No Deportations” bloc, initiated by Tower Hamlets SUTR, on the anti-racism march in London on 21 March. The SUTR demonstrations in Glasgow and London are an opportunity to build a bigger movement to stop deportations, shut down detention centres and tear down Britain’s racist immigration system.