Nearly 100 people came to the demonstration outside Campsfield main gates to mark the 19th anniversary of the detention centre opening in 1993.
Despite the rain there was a feeling of hope and inspiration – that if all the groups concerned worked together, these centres would soon be a memory – part of a barbaric past, and that people will move freely across the world.
People from Hackney Migrant Support, No Borders London and Oxford, Coventry Trades Council, Warwick University STAR and Amnesty International – the latter in numbers on a coach, Oxford Migrant Support were among those attending. Some people did the Bike Ride out from Oxford.
Chants calling for freedom of movement, and an end to detentions and deportations, and the drumming of Oxford samba band Breach of the Peace elicited shouts from detainees and a number of appreciative phone calls from them to the mobile whose number was displayed on a banner by demonstrators.
- Toomaj Karimi from Iran and London, who was detained for 18.5 months in Lindholm, Strangeways and Harmondsworth
- Shiar from London No Borders and Stop Deportations and
- John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, whose constituency near Heathrow includes both Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres.
Demonstrators also went round the back of the centre to communicate with other detainees, across the football field which detainees have been prevented from using since Campsfield opened.
After the demonstration there was a very useful meeting in Exeter Hall, Kidlington which made a number of decisions about organisation and future events. Soup was provided at the demo, and lunch at the meeting.