Yarl’s Wood women go on hunger strike

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(reposted from rabble.org.uk)

Today detainees from Yarl’s Wood detention centre announced they were going on hunger strike. Yarl’s Wood is a 400-person capacity migrant detention centre in Bedfordshire, UK, run by Serco. The hunger strike follows another ‘Shut down Yarl’s Wood’ demo organised by Movement for Justice this afternoon, where hundreds of people surrounded the centre, made lots of noise, and communicated via phone with detainees.

While the demo was going on, screws locked up the prisoners in a bid to undermine solidarity, but the women responded with their own resistance.

From Detained Voices:

We have decided to go on hunger strike. It was a last minute thing because of what they have done to us. They have locked us up. In all the units we are on hunger strike. We are not sure how long for. If we have to go tomorrow we will as well. We are entitled to do a peaceful demonstration. It is our right, it is our freedom of speech.

From 1:30 when the protestors are coming up. They locked us up they up and they didn’t want us to shout out to the protestors through the window. We are locked up already in this centre and they lock us up again inside. They didn’t want us to shout out – we are on the other side of the building from the protestors. They lock us in Crane. The women in Dove are locked in Dove. Avocet as well. We all have to stay in our units. This is the first time they have done this.

Why are they frightened if they think they have nothing to hide? Why are they panicking like that?

There are so many officers, some of them area between the units, some are in the corridors, monitors and officers to keep an eye that you don’t even shout and you don’t even do anything. They have never done this before.

We want to appreciate the people to show us support but we were locked up. We are being treated like objects and not human being.

We will know what the outcome is today and see if we have to go tomorrow.

We ask them why did they lock us up. It is our freedom of speech. it is our right. We want an answer.

We would like to see an end to indefinite detention.