KURDISH ASYLUM seekers are on hunger strike outside the Plymouth headquarters of the National Immigration Office. The protest started on Thursday 6 June following repeated attempts to obtain a hearing and acknowledgement of asylum rights.
The protest is an expression of despair, following a wait of between 15 months and three years for some acknowledgement by immigration officials. 'To Home Office officials we are pieces of paper,' says Aniat, who is on hunger strike, 'but we are human beings.' Five of the hunger strikers say they are prepared to die. Support for the protest is growing among local people.
To help, visit the hunger strikers outside Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth.
- Sign and circulate the petition to David Blunkett.
- Raise the hunger strike in your union or tenants group.
- Write to your local MP.
- Send funds and messages of support to Asylum Hunger Strike, c/o Unison, 190 Armada Way, Plymouth PL1 1LT.
LOCAL ANTI-racists intervened in difficult circumstances last Thursday when over 1,000 people attended the Newton Action Group outdoor protest rally in Bingham Market Square near Nottingham. The protest was against the plan to build a detention centre for asylum seekers at nearby RAF Newton.
Since the go-ahead for the detention centre the BNP announced it will stand candidates in next May's local elections. BNP members turned up with placards at the rally. A number of Nottingham groups campaigning in support of refugees and asylum seekers have also come together to oppose the centre.
Sam, a refugee from Iran, got to speak at the Bingham rally, and was warmly applauded in spite of some racist heckling. Those of us who carried placards saying 'Defend asylum seekers-no to the detention centre' and pushed the demonstration on 22 June obviously attracted attention from racists. A group of people stood with us in a show of solidarity. We are determined that the racists will not get a free ride in this campaign.