On Saturday, people from Oxfordshire and beyond demonstrated outside Campsfield House, an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) 6 miles north of Oxford where around 280 refugees and other migrants are detained.
‘This is being done in our name? But it is like a high security prison!’ said a student who had never seen an IRC before.
Bill MacKeith of the Campaign to Close Campsfield told the crowd, ‘We have gathered here every month for the last 23 years, since this place opened, and the first people were detained here – and we will go on until this centre, and all the others like it, are closed.’
This was one of the largest monthly demonstrations outside Campsfield House in years (anniversary demos excepted). Many of those present came from the newly strengthened student-based Oxford Migrant Solidarity (OMS) group.
John Stephens, an organiser for OMS, said ‘The protest was attended by over 60 people, demonstrating a determination from the people of Oxfordshire to welcome migrants and refugees following Brexit and the destruction of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.’ He also encouraged his fellow students to come again next month on 26th November – the 23rd anniversary of the opening of the IRC – and bring more people.
Also present was Dan Iley-Williamson, Oxford City Councillor. He said, ‘Many of those detained in Campsfield and other detention centres across the country are detained for no good reason; often they arrive in the UK fleeing war or poverty, and yet the government responds by detaining them, depriving them of basic liberties, and failing to provide them with adequate medical care and legal advice. All the while these detention centres are run by private companies, who aim to extract as much profit as they can from these injustices.’
Note: Campsfield opened in November 1993.The Campaign to Close Campsfield and End All Immigration Detention was established shortly after. The campaign organizes a public demonstration at Campsfield and a public meeting in Oxford every month. Oxford Migrant Solidarity is a group mainly of Oxford University students who call for an end to detention and visit people imprisoned in Campsfield. The demonstration on 26th November (flyer) will be followed by a gathering to plan further anti-detention actions, at Exeter Hall, Kidlington, from 2.30-4.30pm the same day.
CONTACT: CCC: Bill MacKeith 01865 558145 firstname.lastname@example.org Gill Baden 01993 703994. OMS: John Stephens 07554 426 206