Report from Pennine House protest

A huge police presence greeted more than 70 of us at Manchester airport on Saturday. GMP mobilised a helicopter, motorbikes and had dogs and horses on standby as we highlighted the whereabouts of the immigration prison Pennine House inside Terminal 2.

There's a BBC report here and pictures on indymedia [Town Hall|Airport]. Thanks to all those who came and made this a great success!

Read on for a report from the day:

On Saturday the 21rst of March, over 70 people from Manchester as well as No Borders activists from Leeds and Newcastle held a day of protest demanding the closure of Pennine house, an asylum prison located at Manchester airport.

After a rally in Albert square, where speeches against the detention prison were heard, the group split. Half cycled to the airport, taking with them an effigy of Immigration minister and Oldham MP Phil Woolas in a cage via bike trailer, to highlight the link between the government and the detention and deportation of thousands of migrants every year. The cycle ride was followed the entire journey to the airport by police vans, motorbikes and even a helicopter.

Meanwhile those travelling by train first stopped off at a demonstration organised by the local Congolese community, protesting against plans to deport many of them back to the Congo to certain death. After the rally members of both demonstrations went by train to the airport and linked up with the cyclists.

After arriving at Pennine house it became clear that the police were prepared for us. They had constructed a protest pen inside the detention prison car park and there were lots of police officers and FIT teams present. The group refused to enter the protest pen and ignored all attempts by police officers to make them do so. After spending half an hour listening to more speeches, chanting and flyering passers-by the group decided to leave the car park.

After leaving, the police attempted to contain the group and escort them back to the train station for “their own safety”. The group refused this and instead moved around the police line and made their way back to the train station and towards home. During this the police became physical with several demonstrators. Additional TAU vans, Dog and horse units were also called in but not deployed. Terminal 2 was closed during this.

This action was the culmination of several weeks of events aimed at highlighting the links between government migration policy, immigration minister Phil Woolas and Pennine house, located at Manchester airport.

Posted byManchester No Borders at 2:39 PM