The police hit me with a baton, on my legs, back and shoulder.

A Syrian refugee reports on his experience after being removed by charter flight to Spain on the 3rd September.

On the night of 2/9, officials came to the detention centre and told me I have a flight in a few hours. Police took me in a van to the immigration office, telling me they would let me talk when I got there. I told them I have applied for asylum in the UK. I don’t want to go to Spain. They put me in a van, and made me wait in the van until the morning. I didn’t leave the van for even one minute. 

They put us on the plane. There were four police around me. They held my wrists down so I couldn’t move. If i blinked they would consider it a sudden movement. They didn’t let me move at all. 

I asked for my passport and ID from the UK police. They told me that we would be given them when we arrived in Spain. We landed but we were not given our documents. I tried to go back to the UK police to get my passport, and a spanish police officer hit me hard on my shoulder and didn’t let me go back. 

They put us on a bus, took us to the airport, made us wait a little. Then they stamped our deportation paper and ejected us outside the airport. We were waiting about three hours. We had no money, no food or water. We were hungry. I went to the train station. I passed the barrier, with two others. The police caught us, beat me and broke my phone. The police hit me with a baton, on my legs, back and shoulder. I was detained for about an hour in the train station. They didn’t ask me anything about my situation. He just said you have no rights here. You have nothing here, you can’t come into the station, you have no passport or ID. They let us go about an hour later, and as I was taken outside the police officer hit me again, this time kicking me in the back. He said you have to leave Spain. I have no passport. We couldn’t find the rest of the group, and it took us about 2.5 hours to find them. 

We found them outside the airport, and there were more police there. They treated us badly. They didn’t let us sit anywhere. They kept telling us we had to leave Spain. 

We slept in the street that night, on the concrete. We felt scared. No cover, cars coming and going. There were drunk people in the street, and we were scared they’d attack us. There were cars which stopped and took pictures of us, laughing and mocking us. We didn’t sleep one bit. It felt like two nights, not one. 

In the UK we felt like humans for 3 months. Here we were treated inhumanely. People all night looking at us. It felt awful. We started crying. It was cold. My body hurt. I was hit by the police and then had to sleep on the street. I still haven’t slept. We have suffered a lot. Since I’ve left the UK I’ve been hit twice, once in the airport and once in the station. I have relatives in the UK, I have no-one here. My father died on 6/8, can you imagine, and then this happened. 

There’s a huge difference between Spain and the UK. The police, the people, we are not treated like humans here. We have no passport, we can’t walk about freely. We have nothing to prove our identity. I want to go back to the UK. I can’t even talk to my family, the police broke my phone and I don’t have their numbers. They don’t know where I am. How am I supposed to contact them?

We stayed outside the airport till the evening. No food, no water, nothing.

A Syrian national speaks after his Dublin deportation to Madrid by Charter Flight on 3rd September.

I was in a detention centre in the UK from 18/8. They gave me an appointment with a lawyer after 8 days, on the 26/8.

The lawyer asked me two questions. Why did I leave Syria? And why I didn’t want to go to spain. They did not ask many details. Of course I wanted to leave Syria, I could not stay. My friends were killed there. I am wanted for conscription to the army. I did not give my fingerprint in Spain, I refused to give fingerprints for asylum. I told this to the lawyer. 

I had travelled through Spain on my way to the UK. When I was there, I was in the street for 15 days in spain. The police made me give my fingerprint. I explained all this to the lawyer in the UK. And the lawyer said i shouldn’t worry.

He said I won’t be deported, he reassured me. Because I had a ticket to Spain for 3/9, but the lawyer told me I wouldn’t travel.

I was a victim of the lawyer.

He didn’t do anything for me. He didn’t change anything regarding my ticket

Our deportation date was on 3/9. The night before, they came and told me that I was travelling. I told them that I had a case to stay. 

They told me i had to leave. I didn’t want to leave. I have family here. I have an Aunt in the UK, my brother in law, cousins and friends. I know no one in spain. I will return to the streets there. 

At 2am on the 3/9, the officials came and told me I had to go to the immigration office. I told them I had a lawyer, they told me that I could talk about it at the immigration office. They told me I had time to tell them everything. I was surprised. I left without my stuff. There were a lot of security guards. They told me I had to get in the van. I told them I don’t want to go to Spain. I want to talk to a lawyer so i don’t get deported. They asked me if I was refusing to go and I said yes, I refuse. But they put handcuffs and a seat belt. When i left the prison there were 5 police officers making sure i stayed where i was and I didn’t talk to anyone. They handcuffed me and stayed with me in the van. 

We stayed in the van, and came to the immigration office. I told them I want to speak to a lawyer. I said, this is unjust, I want to talk to someone. They told me it’s done, you are leaving. I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone. I tried to call the lawyer and he wasn’t answering.I sent him a voice message. He didn’t reply.

I stayed in the van, even at the immigration office. They told me I would have time to talk at the office but no one gave me time. They didn’t let me get out of the van. The same van took me to the plane. I was in the van between 2 and 7am. I didn’t get out even once until I went on the plane. I was scared. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move even a tiny bit. I was scared. It was not just. I don’t speak English, no-one spoke Arabic. I didn’t know what would happen to me. No-one could help me. 

There were planes at the immigration office – there were not a lot of planes there, it wasn’t a normal airport.It looked like a cargo airport. With police to your right, to your left, above you and below you. There was nothing there but police. 

They took me to the plane. I told them that I didn’t want to get on the plane. I told them that I refused. There were five officers guarding me and I couldn’t do anything. They put me on the plane. We cried, we tried to tell them. I have family, I am the victim of my lawyer. I talked and poured my heart out. But that was it, we were on the plane. Someone on my left and someone on my right and someone in front. I was handcuffed, I couldn’t move. 

We were 11 people. All taken from the detention centre, Brook House. But we didn’t come in the same van. Each person was in a different van. The same police who were in the van were in the plane were in the place with us. There were a lot of security. I was surrounded by police. Everyone who was deported had about 3 people with them and we were handcuffed. We told them we are not criminals for you to treat us like this. We are not terrorists. We told them if we didn’t like this country and have relatives here we wouldn’t have come. No-one listened or helped us with anything. 

The UK authorities told us the spanish authorities will sort our stuff out for us in spain. They said they would treat us well. We arrived around 10am. There were 3 spanish police there, they put us in a bus, took us to the airport. We were in a hall in the airport, waited about 15 minutes. They took the deportation papers that we had with us and stamped them and returned them. One of us spoke some english and helped us translate. They stamped the papers and sent us outside. Noone asked us or told us anything. 

We stayed outside the airport till the evening. No food, no water, nothing. The videos speak for themselves, you don’t have to explain anything. Didn’t you see the videos? We were in the street. We’re still in the street into the evening. Nothing changed. How can a human person stay 12, 24 hours in the street with nothing, no food no water. There’s no humanity in that. 

One of us is 17. He is a child. 

When we left the airport we were about 3 hours without knowing anything. We walked about, hoping to get on a train to the centre, to find a place to stay. Three of the group passed the barriers, the police came and took them. They beat them, and broke one of their phones. We left the train station and went back to where we had been at first.

We didn’t all sleep in the same place. I was with four people. We didn’t have beds/mattresses. Some of the others slept in the street. It was an abandoned house. No furniture, nothing. 5 slept in this abandoned house, 6 in the street. Some people passed by those in the street and laughed and took pictures. They were making fun of us, mocking us. If we had died in our country it would have been more dignified. 

Syrian Refugees in Brook House speak out: “We did not see any humanity, only humiliation.”

A statement from 6 Syrian men currently detained in Brook House. 

We are people who have lost everything. We lost our families, friends, homes. There is nothing left. Nothing left for us but the hope to feel safe and happy in a country that respects us, a country of humanity . We passed many countries where we were treated like animals, where we received no compassion or humane treatment. We got beaten up, tortured and enslaved. We were faced with two options, either slowly die where we are, or risk dying at sea for the hope of safety in the U.K. After a tough journey at sea, that lasted many hours, where so many of us nearly died, thank God we arrived safely. We stayed in an accommodation for around 3 months, we finally felt like we are human beings. We felt safe. Then one day we receive a letter by post asking us to go to sign a document, and then we can return to the accommodation. We want to follow all the rules here, so we obeyed them and went to sign. As soon as we arrived, we got detained. 

Ever since we got detained, it has been a constant war on our nerves. We are all suffering from psychological trauma. We were told we are getting deported back to Spain in less than a week, we couldn’t sleep and we can’t eat. If someone is telling you they are going to be deported, how are you supposed to feel? We have no drive/ urge to eat knowing that they can take you and an hour later, you are gone. 

We knew we were being sent back to our deaths. If everything was fine in Spain, why would we have risked our lives to get here? If you knew you were being sent to death, you would also feel like you can’t sleep, eat or talk to anyone. Some of us haven’t had any food in 10 days. And then the night before the planned deportation, they say our flight has been delayed for a week. So we live the emotional torture once again. and over and over again. We are all educated and aware people, but if you see us now, we are going mad here. Our time here is making us remember every detail from our journey. We have seen death. We are talking to ourselves. When we hear the word Home Office, we shiver. When they open the door to the room, we all run to the corner from fear of deportation. 

I know we came here without papers, but we had no other choice. We always follow the rules. We just want to live, we are only asking for safety, we don’t want anything else. Whichever country we crossed, we were treated like we are worthless whenever they heard we are Syrian refugees. Wherever we went, people were racist towards us, there were no human rights and no humanity. In Spain, we got beaten up and abused. In the camp, they put 100 of us in the same tent and there was drugs and alcohol. They enjoyed hurting us. We were questioned over our every move. We did not see any humanity, only humiliation. We came to the UK because we know there is humanity here. In the UK, we feel safe. All the families, friends and relatives we have are here. Now they are forcing us to leave. If we go back we will die for sure. It’s emotional torture in detention. We just want to be treated like others. We are only asking for safety. We don’t want anything.

We left our families and homes in Syria. The only community we have is in the UK and they want to separate us from it.

Yemeni refugee in temporary housing reports on conditions: “There is no communication.”

This person is currently housed in a hotel near Heathrow. It appears to be short term asylum housing but there are concerns about provision and access to guidance and support.

I left Yemen in 2015. I crossed 7 countries and then, after 7 hours by sea, I arrived in the UK. I crossed with 11 others 20 days ago.  When I got to the UK the police took him. *** who works for an organisation in South London contacted me. The police took my fingerprints and made me fill out papers. Then I was taken to this hotel near Heathrow.

They have said that it is to quarantine us and that it would be 14 days but it has been longer. I do not know how long we will stay here.

There are about 150 to 200 people here, I am not too sure.

I am currently staying at a hotel. The treatment has been really bad. I have tried to speak with them about it and they are very dismissive. 

One of the main things is the food. They have been giving us the same food every day for every meal. The portions are very small. There is a small packet cereal that is made for a child. I have tried to tell them that I am hungry and they say they have already given him the food.

I have a friend here that is British. The security did not allow him in, they do not allow visitors here. I am able to leave so I went outside to meet them.

I haven’t left the hotel but other residents say that the hotel closes at 10 pm and that we can’t leave later than 10pm.

I don’t have any complaints about the room but the way they treat me is very dismissive – they don’t look at you and feel superior. Whenever I ask for something, there is only 1 person at the hotel and they are not kind.

I spoke to *** who filled out the documents – I don’t know their organisation. If I need a lawyer I think I can speak to one. No one has spoken to him in the hotel or anywhere. It is only because I met someone in Greece that I was able to find some help. But I don’t know whether I need one or not – I don’t know my situation at the moment.

No one else in the accommodation has any contact with anyone. Especially the people I came with – who are Sudanese and Yemeni. They have just been told that they are in quarantine for 14 days. When *** tried to bring me clothes, they are not letting them go inside. So we have had no support.

I have not been getting any support with my psychological condition. I get flashbacks from back home when my father passed away from a car bombing.

I don’t know what is going on, there is no communication.

Father of three sons detained in Brook House: They didn’t let me say goodbye.

I came to the UK by myself, by plane in November. My children arrived in the UK by small boats. They struggled hard to get here. They were in Spain and then went to Holland, and they me a man took them to Calais. They tried twice to take a dingy and it capsized, and they had to go back. Finally, it got to Dover. I requested that they would be placed with me. In July, they gave us a family residence in Manchester – they gave them ID cards, they had applied to university. And then on Friday the officers came to collect them and took them to Brook House.

It has been really hard. My sons have a lot of anxiety and depression. They are not eating and sleeping. I try to tell them not to let this situation consume them. But one of my sons is just crying. It just felt that their dreams were about to happen and then they were taken away. As a Dad, any time I see their clothes in the house, I also cry.

We came to this country expecting the UK to care about humanity, that there would be less racism here. The reality is so different. They have destroyed our family and they have destroyed my sons’ future.

When the officers came to our house, they treated us as if we were criminals. They barged into the house. They put my sons in separate cars so they couldn’t be together. They didn’t let me say goodbye.  There was no need for them to come in and be so aggressive like this.

Thank you for making me believe that there is some humanity left in this country.

Brook House Protester: I want to ask people to sign the petition to stop the flight

Everyone is very tired and exhausted in Brook House. We have not been eating and drinking. Many people feel very hopeless and suicidal. They feel they don’t have a point to their lives. There were about 5 people who self harmed last night because they are afraid of being deported. The officers are treating us well but the reason we are on hunger strike is the decision by the Home Office to deport us. This decision has not taken into consideration the fact we came to the country to live peacefully.

I want to ask people to sign the petition to stop the flight. We have tried to overcome the oppression in our countries and now we are facing these new challenges and we need your help. I want people to act as soon as possible, because me and my friends are just waiting to be removed tomorrow.

Thank you to Medical Justice and Emily for keeping in touch with us. Thanks to all the NGOs and organisations that are helping us. Thank you to the organisation that help me while I was in Coventry – they treated me really nicely.

Brook House Protester: ‘We came here and we just want the chance to live and find peace.’

We are Yeminis and we are detained here, in Brook House in the UK. Our country is going through a war.

We left Yemen to escape persecution and war and to avoid death. And to come to a country that is safe, where we can live safely and healthily without fear of persecution.

All the cities have been destroyed by the war. There are so many weapons in the country. They are giving weapons to young kids to turn them into soldiers. There is a lot of corruption and there are no jobs. There is no choice other than to be involved somehow in the conflict. The youth feel like they are being brave and courageous by joining and it makes them feel that they are involved in something important, but they are dying or being imprisoned.

We are protesting because we are trapped and detained, and we are being threatened with removal to Spain on Thursday. When people leave their country they come to a place like the UK for its peace and safety. We don’t want to take advantage of welfare or anything, we want to work and study and to contribute to society. For Yemenis, a lot of us feel that there is peace and security in Britain.

I feel that the UK is our mother country because there are a lot of Yemenis here, we have family and family friends here. There are twenty Yemenis that are detained. Their mental health is suffering from the situation; they just want to get out and live in peace.

The protests are to bring attention to the suffering of the Yemini people, so that we can be released. And so that we are able to live with peace and justice. We hope that the British government will act justly and let us live here.

To get to Britain there was a lot of pain along the way. At first I was in Mauritania, then I was in the deserts of Mali. Then we made our way to Algeria after a 3 day long trip in which we ran out of water. We were scared that the government would catch us and send us back to Niger because that’s what they were doing to a lot of refugees and it happened to my friends. They were sent back to Niger after numerous attempts and payments that they made to get to Algeria. We then walked to a place in Algeria over 2 days – during which we were not allowed to stop or sit down. In the day time we were hiding and in the night time we were walking. We reached a place called Aïn Salah (Algeria). And then walked to another place called Ghardaia (in Algeria). After the sunset, we walked as far as we could until it was morning in an area called Djidiouia (Algeria), and the guy that was taking us was scared he would get caught and left us in the desert all the day. We were out of food and water and we were trying to hide. A lot of people gave up – they tried to find officials to hand themselves in.

Then the guy that was taking us came back and we started walking immediately – through mountains – I felt  faint and like I was going to pass out. When we reached Oujda (Morocco), 20 of us crammed into a car. The people in the car were from all over, some Syrians, some Yemenis. At each checkpoint/city, you had to pay a sum of cash. Up until this point I had given $3,500. I was lucky because other people had to pay a lot more.

I went to Nador in Morocco and we were there for 3 months. People would say they could take us to Europe but then they would take our money and then leave us. There are still some people I know who have lost all their money and are still waiting in Nador. And If you didn’t have money, people would try to jump over the wall to get to Melilla. This wasn’t free either – it would still cost money to climb the wall. I know some people who have fallen and broken their legs are still waiting to climb the wall. I finally crossed the wall.

In the camp in Melilla, it was tough. There was a lot of stealing; people had knives. It felt lawless. I wanted to leave and get out as soon as possible. When I was given refugee status, I was able to get to Madrid. I tried to get to the UK through Belgium and then from France. I was in Dunkirk for a month. I went to a car park there to try to get onto a truck, but there were people with weapons, and  it wasn’t possible even after several attempts. In the jungle there was a lot of conflict between people.

I got on a small boat to the UK – we thought we were going on a truck but that didn’t happen. We were told we had to go by water. They said it was going to be a short trip of 40 minutes. In fact, we left at 3am and we were still going at 8am. There were a lot of waves – we saw death. All we could see was water and sky. People had paid $3000 or $5000 to make this journey and they really thought they were going to die. Some people had paid all that they had, and owned some even borrowed from family to make this payment. 

On the journey, I was thinking about all I had to endure to get there. I was thinking about being close to death in the desert and death in the waves. I felt that like this was the end.

I remembered in the desert, I was so desperate that I asked my friends to just leave me there but they helped me push through. I thought of all this while thinking that I was going to die on the boat. I remember when we spent a night in Dunkirk, and one of the mafia  threatened us and said that this is your last night here otherwise we’ll shoot you.

And I felt a deep sorrow and sadness that after all that we had been through we might not even  make it and that this would be the end.

When we reached Britain it was like we had come alive again.  We were so happy. Everyone was taken to different cities. We told our families that we had made it. I was taken to Coventry, near Birmingham. I was there for 4 months.

Everyday, I would go running – I needed to get fit! People would be really nice at the park. I became friends with two older people – one was 100 and another was 85. We took a selfie together. I would talk to them everyday, and our friendship made me really happy. I would do push-ups and pullups. I also started learning English at home.

In my 30 years of life – it hasn’t been great. But here I felt that for the first time I could live out my dreams.

11 days ago, immigration enforcement came in the early morning to the place I was staying. My dream became a nightmare.

It has been really hard. I feel so depressed. I have started hating food, hating life. My friends and I are finding it really hard. I have felt suicidal and that it is not worth it to be sent back. After  having tried so hard for this. I have lost so much money and time. I can’t imagine that I will be able to continue if I’m sent back to Spain after all this.  My friends and  family friends are all here. 

I have a ticket for the 27th August but we are hoping to challenge it with our solicitors.

We came here and we just want the chance to live and find peace. And we want to be given the chance to flourish in society. I have hope that I will be able to get out and I will be treated with justice. I want to be active and contribute to society here.

Thank you to everyone who is helping us and continues to help us. God bless them.

There is no social distancing here

Can you tell me about your experience of detention?

I have been in Brook House detention centre for 16 months. I came from prison. I thought I was going to be released but then they brought me here to brook house. I was given a mobile phone, there was a tv and so everything felt better at the start. And then after 6 months I started getting bored and I start stressing about my life and day by day.

3 months ago in November, I had been a year. I started tripping. My hand started sweating, I couldn’t sleep and I felt hot. There was something I hadn’t felt before. I couldn’t get the thoughts of getting me out of this place out of my head. It was like this one year of detention was building up in my head, and exploded in my mind. It was the sort of experience I had never had before. It was something in me that felt like that. I tried everything, sleeping on the floor but nothing was working. They gave me paracetamol and some medicine called calms. And since that day, I am not the same person. Now small things really get to me. My short term memory is shot. Some old term memory is cloudy and dazy.

How have things changed since the coronavirus outbreak?

2 weeks ago they put two people in isolation. I heard from a good officer that I have known for long time. He told me that they are in there and they are suffering but they weren’t getting tested. There was another guy, who was serving food to us who got suddenly taken away. It was two days ago when they grabbed him. They were wearing white clothes and a mask on their faces and blue gloves when they moved them out. He could have spread it to everybody and this made everyone scared.

They are not doing any tests here. There are not testing  any one. So they don’t know if there is a virus on not. The officers who are working in isolation are wearing full body suits. Some officers on the wings are wearing face masks and gloves.

If I feel like I have symptoms (and I do all the all time) I am not going to tell them because if you do, they will take you to the block, to solitary confinement. They won’t test you, and they will leave you there. They don’t want these officers to find out that there is a virus outbreak here. A lot of people feel like they are ill in here. People are not feeling well, they are coughing and they are scared.

There is a meeting today with the home office – they have to do something. We are not animals you know. We need to be tested. Either they should let us out or do something to protect us. They can’t remove us to other countries because other countries will not take us. The government is not doing anything and they are still bringing people into detention. Yesterday they brought new people.

Outside, they are saying that people shouldn’t be close to each other. But here we can’t do anything about it. There are loads of people the tv room, in the garden. There is no social distancing here. No one knows who has got the virus. There are people coughing. I wish you had some sort of drone to see how many people are in the yard.

6 days ago they closed down the church, the mosques and other religious rooms where people congregate. There are less officers around the centre at the moment. Having less officers means there are less wings open and there are less officers on the wing. Which means you have to wait in order to leave the wing to go to the computer room for example.

How has it affected you?

The other day there was a protest. People refused to go to their wings in the evening. They were calling to be tested.

But I didn’t want to be involved as I had got bail. I have been given bail in principle but I have no address to go to so I have to stay here. My bail is going to run out tomorrow then I have to apply again.

It feels like I am on remand. I am in this space but without a sentence. Hopefully they do something. They have forgot about us, it’s like we don’t exist.

Les Gilets Noirs: We are in the Airport in France

Les Gilets Noirs

“I’m here to tell you that for them we are commodities! If they give us documents they lose their business. So they must see that someone stood up. We are not balls to be kicked about, we are not children. Our struggle is not only about papers. What you have yet to see you’ll see when you fight. There is sorrow and happiness inside. Things need to become red and people need to rise to bring it out. The shame is theirs, not ours. They must stop seeing black people as blackness, but see that they have become red.”

Gassama foyer Riquet – in Paroles de n’importe qui… ou pas – May 2019 – ed. La chapelle.

At the employment fair, on the 23rd February 2019, residents of some of the 43 migrant centres of the Paris region are plotting together, along with tenants of the struggling streets:

Diakité, member of the Chapelle Debout collective:

“We rose up. We quit our everyday tasks and we stood. We, the GILETS NOIRS are now the largest movement of undocumented people in France.

The French government knows that we exist. It knows we are here and that we are organised. But it still doesn’t know what we are capable of!

We started on 23rd November 2018. It was at the Museum of Immigration. There were between 300 and 400 of us.

We continued to mobilise people until the 16th December, when we occupied the Comédie Française. That day there were 720 of us. And we opened the door of the Prefecture”… to negotiate

On 31st January, 1500 of us accompanied the delegation. The leadership did not keep their word. “We will receive you every month.” … We are still waiting. 

We asked for an end to deportations and Abou, Amadou, Samba, Tymera, Imane, Hicham have been violently deported towards Spain, Italy, Sudan and Morocco under the pretexts of the Dublin Agreements, bilateral agreements or by the pure and simple ferocity of the racist brutality of the police, judiciary, medical services.

We got organised so that many can return, so we can bring back our parents, our children, our wives, our husbands, our friends and everyone else.

In the Paris Prefecture, they dismissed us, saying: “we can’t, not our responsibility, not our remit, you’re missing this paper.”

“We’ll speak to your bosses then!”

We call for all the forces in France, Europe and beyond to support this campaign against fear and shame.

For equality, dignity, justice and their concrete implementation: Documents for all!

We must start winning again, because we have all lost too much: Documents for all!

We must stop bemoaning because we must act.

We must wait no longer.

Because we are here and we are everywhere: Documents for all!

We are against:

The OQTFs (Orders to leave France), the 115, illegal working at Elior, asbestos removal without protection, the CRAs (Immigration detention centres), Calais and Ventimille and Dublin, checks based on profiling at Aubervilliers 4 Chemins, the OFPRA (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People), rough sleeping, the CNDA (National Court of Asylum), Porte de la Chapelle, the refusal of AME (State Medical Aid), queuing at the prefecture or for food, the OFII (French Office of Immigration and Integration), slave driving bosses and businesses.

Papers/Documents for all!

“Immigrants have a voice and they are using it!”

“We are the freedom to move, to settle down to act. We will take it as our right. In the name of all those who did not make it here, and to save ourselves, and for all those who want to make it out here.”

PAPERS NOW!

WE ARE IN AN AIRPORT IN FRANCE

This place is, above all else, a border. A border without walls or barbed wire. Nevertheless it marks bodies.

For some Roissy Charles de Gaulle is a place for travel and consumption. Those for whom this comes easy are a minority coming from the bourgeois and/or white worlds. It’s this world that colonizes and wages war. The entrance to their fortress is the airport. It is well guarded by the military, police and cameras… In this place we also meet many of our own. Nevertheless, we don’t want to see ourselves here.

We are hidden or shut behind a curtain in the plane or underground, very close to terminal 2 in the holding area for those who are awaiting deportation…or in the basement of the four-star Ibis hotel with the blessings of the Accor company.

This place exudes racism on a planetary scale.

Those at the front pass through showing only their official documents, those at the back are threatened, handcuffed, gagged and insulted by the police

At the border, in the antechambers of the airport.

It’s from Roissy that Afghans were deported to Kabul at gunpoint, at the same time that we switched off the Eiffel Tower’s lights to commemorate the Western victims of the attacks in Kabul’s diplomatic neighbourhood on 31 May  2017.

We are here because this airport belongs to those who scrub its toilets all day long, who pack and transport suitcases for customers with red passports.

We have come to free ourselves, like others who have escaped from their prisons for foreigners in Rennes, Hendaye or Mesnil-Amelot in recent months.

We are here because the body of a 15 year-old son was found frozen, fallen from the landing gear of a plane on 8th April 2013. That was before their “migration crisis”, which every day justifies their crimes a bit more. There are no names for those they deport, they bear all of our names.

We are here for self-harm and suicide to not be the only ways to stop cops from receiving free holidays with Air France Miles.

Enough with the prison, sleeping pills, foam helmets and handcuffs!

Glory to all that managed to step off a plane, whatever methods they used! From screaming to physical resistance or tricks.

Thank you to all who refuse to sit down. To pilots who refuse to take off. To the transit helpers who give us information: “deportations on this flight”.

25 detention centres in France, over 1000 people deported in 2018 from the Mesnil-Amelot centre alone, nearby here. STOP!

Overcoming fear by coming here, with no pseudonyms or work uniforms, is our first victory.

Overcoming fear of this border is to organise against all of those who help deportation, starting with undermining Air France’s collaboration, which of all the complicit airline companies, is the official partner of the French state. They are in cahoots with Qatar Airways, Ethiopian airlines and Turkish airlines.

To Air France, official deporter of the French state, and to the Paris Airport, its guard dog,

We denounce your collaboration with the state’s practices and the business that it earns you.

We denounce the pressure exerted on your staff and on passengers who oppose the deportation: those who have been disembarked, threatened with lawsuits and forced to buy back tickets.

We denounce your role as accessories to the police and to European justice, and we declare that you bear responsibility for the treatment of non-white lives and their management as flows. You share responsibility for the murder of A. by the Border Police, of M.’s injuries and detention, of M.’s torture, injected to knock him out and stop protesting, of murder attempts on M. who you allowed to be deported when he had swallowed razor blades…

We demand to speak to the heads of Air France to:

-Stop all financial, material, logistical or political participation to deportations

-Stop its policy of retaliation and/or pressure towards in-flight staff who refuses to embark a person threatened with deportation

[Translated with permission from @chapelledebout. The original version can be found here]

Another unpredictable day

It’s another unpredictable day here in Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

We don’t know who will walk out of the gate going home happily, who will be dragged out of the gate by security guards to be put on the plane. We don’t know who’s gonna kick-off out of frustration and then be dragged down the block to suffer the consequences of his actions.

It’s another day not knowing who will be the next drug victim to be introduced to hard drugs out of depression, who will be walking like zombie. But it is certain that a man or two will definitely be down due to overdose of drug intake. Five days ago, it was as if I was in a movie that I would name “THE LIVING DEAD” or “PERFECT ZOMBIES” with so many detainees on my wing turning to real time zombies creeping on their stomach and some walking side ways taking two steps every five minutes.

Self-harm and suicide attempts are so high that there is one MITIE officer following at least one out of every five adult detainees to ensure he don’t hurt or kill him self after several attempts.

One guy has just finished his prison sentence of sixteen weeks i.e two months in total, but has been kept here in detention for more than twelve months after completing his prison sentence. There are many more like him.

This is the system we live in day by day.