On Thursday 4th February, 84 women started a hunger strike in Yarl’s Wood demanding their release.
On Monday 8th December, the hunger strikers were locked up by the centre’s guards for 8 hours, without access to water or toilet facilities. Four women were picked out as “ringleaders” and were taken to various prisons. All are now incarcerated in HMP Holloway.
Feminist Fightback are calling for the immediate release of the “Yarls Wood 4” and all the other women still on hunger strike in the centre.
Please come and demonstrate outside HMP Holloway (Parkhurst Road, London N7 0NU) this Wednesday (17th February) between 6.30-7.30pm.
Bring banners and instruments.
The mass hunger strike, which involved some 84 women at the start, was started on 5th February, sparked by detainees demanding that “the frustration and humiliation of all foreign nationals [in detention] ends now.”
On 8th February, Serco security guards tried to break up the protest by force. Some 70 women were locked in a corridor for up to 8 hours without access to food, water, toilet or medical care. Many collapsed and about 20, who tried to climbed out of the windows, were beaten up and taken into isolation cells. Four of the women, singled out as ‘ringleaders’, were taken to Bedford police station and subsequently transferred to HMP Holloway in London, without being charged with any offence or brought before a judge.
A number of protests in solidarity with the hunger strikers have taken place, including pickets of Serco’s offices in Holborn, London, and one-day solidarity hunger strikes by students and campaigners.
This is not the first hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood. Parents detained in the centre went on hunger strike in 2006 in a desperate bid to draw attention to the sufferings of their children and a mass hunger strike broke out in 2009 (and met with violent assaults on detainees by Serco security guards).