Archive for July, 2009

Details of mitie-immigration raid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 29 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

“When she arrived in this room, the manager Donna Sidley and another woman called Ivon were laughing their heads off.”

Seven cleaners were detained after a raid by immigration police on 14th July, which took place with the complicity of Mitie and Willis. Among our detained sisters and brothers are Alejandro, Hermes Ayala, José Sorriso, Karina Cruz, Cintia, Sonia and Sebastián Desolsa. We are demanding that their salaries are paid and that they win 20 days holiday.

Her name is Lidia, and she said that at 4am there was going to be a meeting about chemicals in the Willis building, and that at 5 in the morning in the basement they would be given times for day-time and early morning shifts. She says that she had a bad feeling about the times of this meeting. When she arrived in this room, the manager Donna Sidley and another woman called Ivon were laughing their heads off. Everyone started coming in, with the illegal workers on one side and the legal immigrants on the other – the undocumented workers already separated out – and Donna took a chemical bottle and said for what purpose this or that bottle served.

Everyone was looking around at each other, some asking each other what was happening and why she was asking all this, and the legal workers on the other side of the room were only looking amongst themselves, knowing that immigration were coming to seize their own workmates, and said nothing. But they did tell the undocumented workers that there was a table full of drinks, things to eat and coffee, and they thought it was for them.

Not even 15 minutes had passed when police started to enter from doors on either side of the room, saying from immigration. No-one moved. One of the police had a file, which only had the names of the illegal workers and photocopies of their documents, but not the names of the legal workers. They called the workers’ names one by one and interrogated them, saying where they had got the documents and where they lived. Many people were crying as they were told off and insulted, and all the while Donna was smiling and jokily making comments to the other police, who smiled too. They insulted the workers and wouldn’t let them leave their seats, and they threatened those who were crying. They then forced them to sign papers which they had not even read: many did not want to, but they insulted them and frightened them, making them scared. They did not know what they were signing. The legal workers were allowed to leave but the others were left behind without being allowed to go to the toilet. Lidia was crying and said that she felt that a policeman was shouting at her aggressively, telling her to shut up. Then the police went over to eat and have the coffee and other drinks, making comments and laughing enthusiastically, making fun of the workers, and Donna and the other woman were also making fun of them, and all the time smiling. The workers watched them, eating and enjoying making fun of them, and they would not let them talk, only to stay silent. No-one gave them even a glass of water even though it was almost 11am by now: the police were enjoying themselves with the manager and gave the workers nothing to eat. Then they were taken away and put in two vans. The black workers were separated from them and the others do not know what happened to them next. They were taken to London Bridge, and then Lidia travelled throughout the whole day, to Liverpool. There, at 2am, they took her to the detention centre. She knew two women there. One woman was released because her husband had papers; the other was deported.

 A public meeting has been called by the Labour Representation Commitee on Tuesday 4th August to discuss solidarity with cleaners in struggle. This once agan raises the question of why senior figures in the Unite United Left have not so far been prepared to offer their solidarity to union members in struggle.

Download pdf leaflet here: http://thecommune.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/lrc-cleaners-forum-leaflet.pdf Tuesday 4th August, 6:30pm Somerstown Community Centre, 150 Ossulston Street, London, NW1 1EE, (5 minutes from Euston Station) In recent years brave union organising efforts have been mounted by migrant workers to demand basic rights and a living wage. A number of cleaning companies have responded by sacking union members and activists; they have colluded with the Border Agency in immigration raids to break organised workers. This is an urgent issue for the whole labour movement – come and discuss what should be done. MR Homepage: http://thecommune.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/testimony-of-a-mitie-worker-in-an-immigration-detention-centre/#more-3133

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Resistance to Deportations :Lesvos, Greece

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Sunday, 26 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Lesvos: Solidarity gathering blocks and prevents the deportation of 62 migrants

The following news comes from Mytilini, where a NoBorders Camp is set to take place on August 25-31. In the bosses’ world, we are all foreigners.

A participant’s account, from Athens IMC

At the Thursday’s dawn, at around 2am, the ferry from Mytilini to Kavala had been planned to deport 62 migrants-refugees from the Detention Centre in Pagani. Their destination was other detention centres in mainland Northern Greece with their likely immediate deportation from there to their countries of origin, countries at war and with non-existent respect of elementary, given for us, human rights. The transfer was attempted with a municipal bus, in which the migrants were “loaded up” handcuffed, accompanied by police cars and undercover cops.

As soon as embarkation started, the guards created a cordon around the migrants and started to lead them on foot toward the catapult of the boat. The sixty of us who were there jumped in front of them, blocking with banners and with our bodies their entrance to the boat. At the same time, we shouted slogans and handed out texts to the people that continued entering and exiting the boat. Following an initial surprise, the return of the migrants back to the bus that transferred them was decided. We held our positions exchanging slogans with the migrants who slowly started to realise what was going on and in turn started to shout and to wave.

After an hour or so and while all vehicles carrying passengers had entered the boat, it was announced to the migrants that their transfer was canceled. With chants and clapping on both sides and under the slogan “solidarity is the weapon of the people, war to the bosses’ war”, the bus left the area of the port to an unknown direction. The same did not happen however with the boat, that stayed there with one of its catapults open. At some point around 20 men of the Special Task Force (which we rarely see on the island) appeared and sat at some distance from us. The boat turned off its engine and the situation remained stable. After some negotiations the STF retreated and at around 4 a.m. the boat finally embarked, without taking the migrants with it. We also left, in a group.

Today’s deportation event was canceled. In the next ones that they will try, with all the powers that we’ve got, we’ll be there. We all know, as it has been repeatedly declared -as a main target of the national and international policies- that the influx of migration needs to be “controlled” and “dealt with”. The mass operations and police pogroms in city centres are accompanied by “de-congestion” operations in the concentration camps in the islands with the migrants being sent to similar concentration camps being set up across the country. What is not controlled and settled ever, of course, is the reason of migration itself. This world, in other words, of exploitation, inequality, injustice: The world of the bosses, the world in which we were and remain foreigners.

comradely,

and with the bitter taste in the mouth of cheering for the return of some people back to their horrific prison…

Occupied London On Patras and the rise of the right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on Thursday, 23 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Hitler on tiptoes: The subtle rise of fascism in Greece

The order has finally been carried out: The migrants staining the image of the city have been removed from public sight. NGO’s, the oh-so-pragmatic Left, good christians and dutiful citizens all stand prepared, they tell us, to fulfil their humanitarian duty as long as the migrant-subject is nowhere to be seen. The morning after the eviction, the flattening and setting ablaze of the migrant camp in Patras, with smoke still rising above its remains, the local newspapers cheerfully saluted the operation: “Living conditions were unbearable, therefore the destruction of the camp was a humanitarian act” went their twisted logic. For the record, both local media and political authorities in Patras are of the “socialist” flavour of power. campfire04 For this ex-industrial, ex-major port-city in the Western tip of the Peloponnese the passage to the post-industrial era has left little more than illusions. Illusions of having any sort of substantial industry, any mechanism capable of sustaining the city’s “growth”, or even simply bringing back “the good old days”. In this illusion, perception is key: Everyone becomes what they show to be and the city becomes a sum of places facilitating this to-be-seen process. Out go the factories, in come the glamorous, trendy cafés. The assembly line gives way to the “catwalk”, as the pedestrian road running in the café district of Patras is euphemistically called. It is right here, on this catwalk, that the illusory perception is simultaneously produced and consumed. The impromptu shanty town-like camp stood as the catwalk’s absolute antithesis: In the safety of its size, and that only, its permanently temporary residents could seek refuge for as long as it would take to sneak into one of the ferries heading further West, to Italy – or be arrested by police. The camp’s size, its very visibility within the urban entity of Patras safeguarded its residents’ individual safety. The camp acted as shelter and cover for those in Patras on-their-way-somewhere-else. There was nothing illusory about the residents of the camp. Why they were in Patras (because of the war), why they were on their way further West (because Patras could offer them nothing)… Their crudely real presence was putting the entire city’s post-industrial function at risk. The camp was striking at the heart of the city’s illusory function of perception. For this reason it had to go. From the openly fascist voices of the extreme right calling for the deportation of the migrant-subject all together to the “pragmatic”, subtly fascist voices of the left calling for its elimination from public view: The object has becomes one, the safe functioning of the illusory city – uninterrupted, clean, orderly. Their cleanliness is cleansing, their order is death. In this, we should have no illusions.

calais update – 21/09

Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, 21 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

* Tuesday  July 2009 (9:20 am) The night passed with activists hanging
around with migrants who were more visibly shaken than usual by the
deportation threats. Activists patrolled other jungles in cars in an
attempt to monitor the police.  It has been a night of people arriving
from Netherlands Belgium UK France to show solidarity withy migrants in
Calais. Early in the morning CRS riot police shot tear gas into the Pastun
jungle and beat up and removed five people. Unfortunately this is nothing
new in Calais these days

Some UK and Dutch press arrived.  The morning saw Eritrean and Iranian
migrants being stopped and detained on the streets of Calais; again
nothing new. Whether  48 hours detention or deportation for Iranians we
don’t know. The racism of police actions was visible in their removal of
black sans papiers while white activists refusing to show ID were let go
as we watched our friends being taken away
giving us the thumbs up from the windows of the unmarked police van. We
condemn these acts of terror. As the repression continues the links
between migrant activists and resident activists grow..

We are tired and angry at what we see and learn, but for the migrants and
activists dealing with this situation this is a daily test on the nerves.
Maybe this ‘rehearsal’ by the police is to test our limits. But it only
seems to strengthen peoples resolve as more people arrive to support
jungles

Not loads of us but a steady stream to maintain solidarity. Come to Calais!

.

* Monday 20 July 2009 ( evening ) Also this evening there was a mayoral
opening of climate photos in Calais gardens by central railway station and
people asked photographer why no photos of climate refugees. Two people
holding a banner we chased by police presumed arrested. One other person
definitely arrested for taking a photograph, now released

more from http://www.calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com

Demo Report and more details of immigration raid

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Monday, 20 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

New Image

Over 70 people demonstrated outside the Willis Building in support of the detained Mitie Cleaners  – and the continued persecution of organised migrant labour.

More details on raid:

7 Cleaners get detain in an immigration raid with the complicity of MITIE and WILLIS.

Is very similar to what happened at SOAS University on the 12th of June where 40 immigration officers detain 9 cleaners after a suppose meeting organized by SOAS management and ISS cleaning company.

Chronology of the events of the 14th of July in the Willis Building

1. Days before, Ivon one of MITIE managers in Willis send a letter of invitation to the 2 shifts of workers for a chemical training course, some had to go at 5 am and others at 8:30 am

2. On the 14 of July the workers from the night shift (10 pm to 6 am) were receiving the training when immigration officers raid the room and detain the undocumented workers. After at 8:30 detain others cleaners at their arrival to the building.

3. As a result of the raid: 1 Ecuadorian detain, Ricardo Benites, 5 Bolivians, Hermes Ayala, Jose Sorriso, Karina Cruz, Cintia, Sonia and 1 Brazilian, Sebastian desolsa.
4. On the 15 of July some detains where taking to a detention centre in Dover. Until today we don’t know if they will be deported.

Calais Update – Monday 20/7

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on Monday, 20 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

_45562757_jungle2_226NEW INFO LINES If you are coming to Calais to show solidarity and want information call
0033 668 595765 (english) or 0033 630 225982 (french and spanish)

Latest information from activists on the ground in Calais

*Monday 20 July 2009 (12:10pm) Police in private meeting with mayor

*Monday 20 July 2009 (11:20am) Police have stated at meeting with humanitarian associations there will be no clearances this week. Some associations are accepting this, others are not so sure.
Police have refused to provide showers for migrants as demanded by humanitarian associations who are ready to provide them now.
Implication could be that police do not want to have any property of these associations on the site if and when police destroy the jungle. ‘This is a cynical and undignified move by police’ say solidarity activists.

*Monday 20 July 2009 (8:45am) Demo outside meeting; Tunefull megaphone singing “there is no dignity in a crime against humanity” referring to immigration minister Besson saying destruction of the jungle woud ony happen with “dignity”. Other banners read-

Arrests, Detentions,Expulsions? Indignation!

* Monday 20 July 2009 (8:45am) News due soon about meeting between chief of police and Calais humanitarian associations. A demonstration is taking place outside venue now encouraging them not to collaborate.

Chalked entrance to sub prefects office (police station), CalaisChalked entrance to sub prefects office (police station), Calais
Banners outside Sub Prefect's office this morningBanners outside Sub Prefect’s office this morning

Members of the various Calais humanitarian associations working with migrants in Calais are meeting with the Prefect and Sub Prefect (chiefs of police) in Calais.

Outside the police station some people from these associations and members of Calais Witnesses, Calais Migrant Solidarity and No Borders are demonstrating noisily, warning against collaboration with the authorities. More news when we find out what the meeting was told by the police.

DALE FARM EVICTION CONTRACT ATTRACTS NOTORIOUS BAILIFFS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Monday, 20 July, 2009 by bristolnoborders

dalefarmkids

Contact: Grattan Puxon 01206 523528

The UK’s most notorious anti-Gypsy security
firm, responsible for the brutal Twin Oaks
eviction in 2004, says it expects to take on the
biggest clearance operation ever mounted
against a village community in Britain in
modern times.

Constant & Co., which has earned tens of
millions of euro clearing Gypsies from their
own land in barely legal, hard hat-style sorties
around England, now wants the contract to
demolish Dale Farm, home to 500 Travellers
near Crays Hill, Essex.

The job, worth three million euro, would
involve removing, and in some plots smashing,
chalets and mobile-homes, and physically
forcing up to 90 families, including children,
the elderly and infirm, to leave the district,
impoverished and with nowhere legally to
live.

Along with their homes and children’s
primary school, the families stand to lose
their unique youth-club community centre and
Saint Christopher’s Chapel.

“This is ethnic-cleansing,” said one
voluntary worker who visits Dale Farm. “But
the council are trying to disguise that fact
with a lot of politically correct language.”

Because of the high cost of the work,
Basildon have been compelled to put it
out to tender in the official Journal of the
European Union. The closing date for
bids is mid-August.

In its ad the council states that the
winner bidder must ‘demonstrate a
commitment to upholding the principles
of equality and diversity legislation and
be sensitive and responsive to the
needs of people.’

However, Basildon has already
indicated it favours re-engagement
of Constant, a firm the council has already
employed for a number of small evictions.
Critics say these were conducted in a way
that flaunted EU health and safety regulations,
and resulted in the needless trashing of huge
quantities of private belongings

*//*
*/Valuable Crown Derby china and other/*
*/itms have gone missing during/*
*/some clearances/*/. /
/ /
Photographs illustrate how at Hovefields
no perimeter fencing was erected and
children were allowed in close proximity
when heavy machinery was in motion.

While the council justified its use of
s178 of the Town and Country
Planning Act to restore Greenbelt, land
at Hovefields has been left derelict.
Top-soil has been destroyed and the plots
surrounded by high earth berms.

Much of the ground is now flooded
with contaminated water from
broken cess-tanks, posing a danger
to health for children and adults who
continue to live nearby while awaiting
further Constant incursions.

CARAVANS ON FIRE

A film produced for Dale Farm
Housing Association shows caravans
on fire as bailiffs manhandle screaming
children. One plant-hire company has
discontinued renting to Constant,
branding its approach brutal.

Referring to the Twin Oaks eviction,
Justice Collins said in the High Court that
having seen a video of Constant at
work he considered the bailiffs’ conduct
unacceptable as it inevitably led to
harm to those affected.

“The council must re-consider the use of
this firm,” stated Justice Collins. He also
noted that the police had failed to curb the
excesses of Constant bailiffs.

Collins added that in cases of
serious ill-health or needs of children,
eviction would be disproportionate.
Although the right to evict has since been
upheld the conditions he attached
were adopted in a complex Court of
Appeal ruling earlier this year.

Requested under the Freedom of
Information Act to provide copies of its
obligatory Risk Assessment reports for
the Hovefields and Dale Farm evictions,
Basildon has admitted that no such
surveys have been carried out.

Jean Sheridan, a Dale Farm mother
of triplets, is fearful of the trauma bailiffs
could cause her babes. She hopes that
before Constant is ordered in she will be
able to mount a case in the European Court
of Human Rights.

“We have nowhere else to go and
my babes need medical help,” Jean
says. “They were born prematurely and
lucky to live. How will they survive the
terrors Constant will bring?”

The UK Children’s Commissioner has
asked Basildon what it intends to do to
safeguard children during demolition
and what alternate accommodation is
being offered them. No satisfactory
answer has yet been received.