By Sophie Squire
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Partner of jailed climate activist threatened with deportation speaks out

Repressive measures against protests and to limit strikes merge with racist immigration laws
Issue 2858
Marcus Decker during his occupation of the Dartford Crossing

Marcus Decker during his occupation of the Dartford Crossing (Picture: Just Stop Oil)

The Tories aren’t content to simply lock up fighters for the planet. Now they want to deport them as well

Marcus Decker, a climate activist currently held in Highpoint prison in Suffolk, climbed to the top of the Dartford Crossing, occupying the bridge for 36 hours last October. 

Following the action, a judge hit Just Stop Oil (JSO) supporter Marcus with a two year and seventh months prison sentence. Fellow activist Morgan Trowland, who also took part, was sentenced to three years. 

At the end of last month, Marcus received a stage-one deportation order from the Home Office. His partner Holly told Socialist Worker that Marcus’ deportation would rip their family apart. 

“The deportation order is a result of this government that continues to back up the fossil fuel industry while trying to stop protests,” she said. 

“Marcus came to Britain three years ago. We fell in love, and he took on my children as their stepfather. 

“He’s a wonderful musician, and I think that’s what he always thought he would do. But he realised that he should devote his time to fighting the climate crisis instead. 

“He is incredibly knowledgeable about the climate crisis. Nothing he does is on a whim. He knows about protest movements and what works and what doesn’t. 

“Marcus knew that climbing the Dartford Crossing caused disruption to people’s lives, and he’s sorry for it, but he believes his action was proportionate to the scale of the crisis.”

Holly explained that Marcus received settled status from the Home Office two years ago. “When he got settled status, he thought it was safe to take part in a bigger, more risky action.” 

She added that while Marcus and Morgan’s sentence length was shocking, it wasn’t surprising to her.

“No one thought their sentence would be that long. Our lawyers gave no indication, and no other climate activists had received sentences as long as theirs. But I didn’t trust the judge.

“Watching that trial was like watching a cat play with a couple of mice. The judge let them talk about climate change and their reasons but ignored what they said. 

“He called them selfish and said they didn’t care about others. And then he sentenced them to over 12 months in prison, which means that Marcus was facing automatic deportation. 

“It was horrid. It felt like the judge knew he would break our family apart by sentencing Marcus to this time.”  

Activists must keep talking about what’s going on. They need to talk about what’s happening to Marcus, keep on talking about the crackdown on protesters and keep on talking about the climate crisis,” Holly added.

Marcus has been able to share his thoughts from prison through an Instagram account run by friends. 

On Wednesday he said, “There are new awful policies that stop lawful protests. The law punishes people, but if you’re not from this country, it’s not just a prison sentence you have to worry about. 

“Now my entire life could be affected, and others could suffer this as well.” 

JSO released a statement in solidarity with both Marcus and Morgan.

It wrote, “This deportation threat from the Home Secretary is yet another attempt to silence dissent.  But we will not be silenced, we will not be intimidated, and we will not abandon our friends. We stand with Marcus and Morgan. Civil resistance is our only hope.”

Resistance is essential, especially as the Tories ramp up their attacks. This week they handed the police new powers to stop climate activists from taking part in slow marches—a tactic used by JSO. 

Attempts to deport Marcus show the vile methods the Tories are willing to use in suppressing climate protesters.

And it also shows how their racist immigration laws that target migrants and refugees can be used to deport those who fight back. 

Tory laws that try to curtail protests, limit strikes and deport migrants all exist to crush resistance.

Every socialist, activist and campaigner must stand with Marcus and all those facing deportation and state repression. 

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