Last night, activists from a coalition of migrant solidarity groups blockaded a charter flight leaving for Nigeria and Ghana.
The campaigners from End Deportations, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSMigrants) and Plane Stupid say this is the first time this kind of direct action has stopped a mass deportation charter flight.
The activists held up ‘No One Is Illegal’ banners as they camped out on the runway to stop the flight. The blockade was live-streamed on Stop Charter Flights’ Facebook Page.
The campaigners point to statements made on the website Detained Voices that detail some of the threats faced by those being removed on the Charter Flight.
One woman on the flight said: “My ex-husband said he knows I am being deported. He is waiting for me. He is planning to kill me. If he kills me- who will look after my children?”
Another male deportee said: “I have been in this country for almost 18 years. My family and my life is here in the UK. If they take me back to Ghana I will kill myself.”
Charter Flights are specially commissioned flights used to remove people under the cover of darkness to Pakistan, Albania, Nigeria, Ghana, and Jamaica. Charter Flights
- cost up to £250,000 per flight.
- target specific national communities who are then subjected for intensified border policing.
- prevent people accessing their legal rights by removing people with outstanding appeals and making it difficult to access lawyers.
- split up families who have been in the UK for years and expose those removed, particularly those LGBT people, to threats of violence.
Reclaim Justice Network wishes to express solidarity with those threatened by charter flights and the campaigners resisting the flights. We hope it sparks a critical debate about mass removals, the immigration detention system and racist state violence more widely.