The women were trapped and effectively kettled in a corridor for 8 hours with no food, water or toilet facilities. Others ended up being trapped outside in the snow for hours without jumpers, shoes or socks. Many were subjected to verbal assault and racial abuse. Many suffered serious physical assault –in one known case a woman was left unable to stand and another woman’s finger was almost severed and many collapsed out of exhaustion. Furthermore all the women involved were (and in most cases still are) denied access to medical treatment Ambulance and police were denied access to the centre.
In response to this horrific violation of human rights and blatant abuse of power an immediate demonstration was staged Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th February outside Serco‘s offices in Holborn.
London Detainee Solidarity Network is calling for people to ring Serco Offender Management and the centre manager of Yarls Wood to express support for the hunger strikers and disgust at their treatment by Serco‘s guards (Serco Home Affairs Office – 01344 386300 & Yarl’s Wood Duty Manager – 01234 821517).
The next big demo will take place at Serco‘s offices at 18-22 Hand Court (off High Holborn), Friday 12th, 2.30pm. See map for exact location.
Please bring banners and instruments – show support and solidarity with the women, children and families in Yarl’s Wood and publicly condemn Serco who are subcontracted by UKBA to run the centre.
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.”
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).