The first national demonstration against Section 9, the new power under the 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act to make families of ‘failed’ asylum seekers destitute, threaten eviction and even to take the children into care — is being held in Bolton on 1 October, this Saturday.
The Sukulas have been without any benefits for six weeks now, though the campaign has kept them in the house and the family is still together. At least two families — one in Rochdale and one in Darwen near Blackburn, have been evicted. No family as far as we know has had their children taken into care but if we don’t oppose this unjust law it can only be a matter of time.
Three families campaigning against deportation, the Sukula, Khanali and Altaf families will participate in the demonstration. The march will assemble at noon at Lever Edge Lane Primary School, Bolton, BL3 and march to Bolton town hall where there will be a rally.
As Socialist Worker goes to press Flores Sukula, a student at Bolton sixth form college, is due to address a fringe meeting at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, this Tuesday on her 19th birthday.
Her speech includes the following 'I can think of other things I'd rather do today on my 19th birthday. I shouldn't have to be here having to plead for our lives, the lives of my family — my brothers and sisters. I shouldn't have to but I do. This campaign has become our lives. This is a campaign to save our lives. My brothers and sisters' childhoods are being stolen from them.'
Flores Sukula had to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo three and a half years ago after her family was threatened and her mother severely beaten by government militia. The Home Office have not contested the attack but, incredibly, maintain that it does not constitute persecution. The Sukula family however say they cannot go back.
The demonstration is being held in solidarity with a demonstration against deportations on the same day in Glasgow and one scheduled for 22 October in Cardiff — also against Section 9.
For further information, contact Jason Travis, Bolton NUT phone 07976476181
For more on the Sukula Family Must Stay campaign go to www.sukula.org