NEARLY 200 migrants held in British detention centres went on hunger strike at the weekend as part of global demonstrations against immigrant detentions and deportations.
The mass hunger strike followed a wave of protests across Britain held simultaneously at its most infamous detention centres.
At Middlesex’s Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, 190 detainees refused to eat lunch and a further 50 occupied the complex’s yard over “non-human” living conditions.
One of the centre’s inmates said: “If a detainee wants their medical report they have to pay £10, and [management] can refuse to check someone because they say we only have two doctors here.
“How can two doctors check 600 people in the centre?”
According to migrant support charity Unity Centre, an Iranian man who had been behaving erratically attempted suicide in Harmondsworth on Saturday afternoon.
He is one of the 2,230 people who have attempted suicide in British detention centres since 2007.
Another of the men detained at Harmondsworth said: “We all will continue this protest, but we feel hopeless […] because inside the centre we can’t trust any of the staff members, their behaviour is like they are kings and we are slaves.
“We are struggling with the non-human behaviour of staff.
“There are so many detainees here for more than 10 months. Day by day, everyone is becoming mentally ill.”
At Lincoln’s Morton Hall, the mother of ex-inmate Orashia Edwards criticised the government’s detention policies, saying: “My son was detained four times.
“He was abused quite a lot. Nobody stood up for him or anything like that. We are here today because we think that the way our asylum-seekers are treated is inhumane, is wrong and is degrading.”
Hundreds of people also assembled outside Bedfordshire’s Yarl’s Wood women’s detention centre.
Movement for Justice campaigner Serubula Yudaya told the Star she had been very “moved” by the acts of solidarity and the testimonies from inside the centre.
She was particularly shocked with women “telling us about people who are 65, 75, disabled, being detained for a long time and that some can’t even walk anymore but [are] still living behind bars — too sad.
“We will keep fighting until every one is set free. No human being deserves to be in that kind of situation.”