Article published: Monday, June 21st 2010
Manchester and Salford’s immigration reporting centre for people seeking asylum was attacked in the early hours of this morning by protestors. A group broke into the car park at Dallas Court where they sabotaged the vehicles used by the UK Border Agency’s notorious ‘snatch squads’.
According to reports, the vans were immobilised and defaced with spray paint, while the access gate to the car park was also put out of action. Stickers reading “This vehicle has been tampered with” were left at the scene to notify staff.
In a statement the group said: “The action was taken in solidarity with detainee resistance. In the past months media reports have covered the hunger strikes in Yarl’s Wood, protests in Harmondsworth and struggles against chartered deportation flights. These are acts of resistance against an arbitrary system of control and surveillance policed by the UK Home Office and European immigration authorities.”
Dallas Court is home to officials from the UK Border Agency. The snatch squads which operate from the centre often head out in blacked-out vans early in the morning to detain those asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected. They are known for kicking in doors before the children go to school in order to catch the entire family at once. Asylum seekers are also made to sign in at Dallas Court at regular intervals, not knowing whether or not they will be detained on the spot.
When arrested, detainees are taken to detention centres such as nearby Pennine House, the holding facility at Manchester Airport, where they wait indefinitely until their cases are resolved. After long periods of incarceration, despite having committed no crime and having had no trial or sentence, most detainees can expect deportation back to the countries from which they fled.
This is the second time in recent years that Dallas Court has been targeted by campaigners seeking to obstruct dawn raids and disrupt the centre’s day-to-day activities, which today’s protestors described as a symbol of the “constant uncertainty and fear” that asylum seekers and migrants live under.
They said: “Every person has the right to fight against these conditions irrespective of circumstance, and as long as these policies exist people will struggle against them. New arbitrary controls such as the immigration cap proposed by the new government will only intensify resistance. Such resistance will centre on the frontline of border security at sites like Dallas Court and Pennine House.”
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