Over 200 asylum seekers held at a detention centres in Portsmouth and Middlesex are on hunger strike in protest at their conditions. Children as young as 15 are said to be refusing food.
All but five of the detainees at Haslar removal centre, Portsmouth, began refusing food last Sunday.
Inmates have signed a statement challenging the legality of their detention and a spokesperson for the strikers said they were prepared to “die” rather than be deported.
The protests began over a week ago, following a demonstration outside Colnbrook removal centre in Middlesex.
During the demonstration, inmates at the centre were denied access to exercise yards and forbidden to look out of their windows.
Manchester Strangeways Prison
“We are today protesting against destitution, detention and deportation of refugee people seeking safety and asylum,” said campaign organiser Emma Ginn, as hundreds assembled at Manchester’s Strangeways Prison last Saturday.
The march went on to protest at British Airways’ offices. The company is involved in forced deportations.
A phone link brought messages from those on hunger strike in Colnbrook detention centre.
Mark Krantz Chair, Manchester Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers