Join South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, These Walls Must Fall supporters, and Sheffield Student Action for Refugees on a national protest at Morton Hall detention centre on 26th October 2019.
Saturday 26th October
12noon to 3.00pm
MORTON HALL IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTRE
Morton Hall Village, Swinderby, LN6 9PT
(15 minutes walk from Swinderby Train Station)
Transport from Sheffield:
Arranged by SYMAAG and Sheffield STAR
Buses to the demo from Bar One, Glossop Road (Sheffield University Students Union) at 10:00am leaving Morton Hall prompt at 16.00pm
Transport from Manchester:
Contact Beth Redmond (Manchester Momentum): Call/text 07956 805974 for a coach place.
Tickets are – £20 / £25 solidarity with 6 free spaces for unwaged/asylum seekers.
Transport from Leeds:
Arranged by Leeds University Oxfam Society
Contact (Leeds Oxfam Society): firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07377400788
Travelling from Nottingham or Lincoln
Take the train to Swinderby and walk (15 minutes) to Morton Hall.
Background to the demo:
Morton Hall is a an ex-prison, now a detention centre run by the Prison Service for the Home Office and can detain 392 people.
There were FOUR deaths at Morton Hall in 2017 and there are constant reports of violence by staff and self-harm by people detained there.
Friends of SYMAAG, Victor, Benji and Kunzani, and other South Yorkshire residents, were held in Morton Hall in 2019, and met others who had been there for months and even years.
“Nearly half the detainees told the inspectors they felt depressed or suicidal on arriving at Morton Hall.”The Prisons Inspectors on report on Morton Hall, 21 March 2017
On 12 March 2019 the Home Affairs Select Committee reported on Detention and said: “The Home Office has shown a shockingly cavalier attitude in its approach to immigration detention and overseen serious failings in almost every area of the immigration detention process… [and] has utterly failed in its responsibility to oversee the safe and humane detention of individuals in the UK”.
We ask supporters of migrants rights and those opposed to detention and the hostile environment to join us at Morton Hall to let the detainees know we are support them, and to show the Home Office we are watching.
Bring banners, placards, vuvuzelas and musical instruments – we will be making as much noise as possible!
For press enquiries please email email@example.com
Safeguarding Information for Morton Hall Detention Centre Protest
This has been written by volunteers from Sheffield Student Action for Refugees with support from These Walls Must Fall staff.
The aim of this message is to explain the plan for the protest/demonstration and to allow people to make an informed decision about how they wish to support the demonstration.
Our priority is to protect individuals who may have already suffered trauma at the hands of the Home Office, in detention centres, or throughout the asylum process, and to minimise the risk of re-traumatisation at the protest.
We fully support and endorse this protest. We also believe that for some individuals who are considering attending the event, this protest may not be an appropriate way of acting against the ‘hostile environment’, and we want to reassure them that that decision is a perfectly good one. If you still wish to attend after reading this document but are worried, we will do all we can to support you and minimise any distress caused.
Important: we (and none of the organisations organising the protest) are not legally responsible for anyone else on the protest, but are simply a group of people giving peer support to each other.
Firstly, protesting is just one of the many ways you can support this community across the country. For example, in Yorkshire, and the North West, These Walls Must Fall is a network of people doing community based campaigning against detention, including meeting with faith groups (churches, mosques), speaking at events, running awareness raising events (with schools, youth groups, sports groups and more), and taking part in discussion with politicians to change government policy.
They provide training and support for this, and would love people to get involved – if you are interested please text Rosie on 07899045376 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elsewhere in the country, These Walls Must Fall supporters in many groups do lots of amazing work too, please get in touch to find out how you can get involved! Student Action for Refugees is a student based activist group that runs several annual campaigns and events in several cities.
Other groups we work with such as Manchester Refugee Rights Collective, Women Asylum Seekers Together, Refugee Women Connect in Merseyside, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG), City of Sanctuary or ASSIST also carry out vital support work within and Yorkshire and the North West, and if you are further afield, then we can always try and point you towards good people in your area!
Outline for the day of the protest (Morton Hall, 26th October 12pm-3pm):
There will be coaches travelling from several locations. The coach information here is about Sheffield, but please contact the people in your area for transport information (see bottom of this document).
This coach will leave around 10am from Glossop Road, outside Bar One and then make its way to The Hubs, Sheffield Hallam, on Paternoster Row (opposite the Workstation).
The coach will remain at the protest throughout the day and will have a toilet on board.
There will be several volunteers at the demonstration who will be clearly identifiable and take lead responsibility for safeguarding. These volunteers are there to look after those protesting. They are friendly, approachable people who will all have basic training in supporting anyone who shows signs of distress at the event and will be able to leave the main protest with them. We will also offer small cards with the contact details of the safeguarding team and other organisations attending the event.
After the demonstration (around 1 week later) there will be a debrief (informal meeting) anyone is welcome to attend. This will be a chance to discuss in a friendly environment the event and related concerns that were raised by attending the protest.
At Morton Hall
We, the protesters, will travel to Morton Hall and gather near the fences around 12pm. We will remain on the perimeter of the prison throughout. There is likely to be a lot of people, friendly but enthusiastic and making lots of noise so the people inside can hear us.
There will be a police presence – it is best not to interact with the police, and to know your rights. Do not give personal details to them – you can ask other people on your coach about this.
It might be cold so dress warm – if you need to bring a seat to sit on, do.
We will stand outside of the fences and the atmosphere can be quite loud and intense so if you need to step away for a bit, the coach will be present and the safeguarding volunteers can join you if this is helpful.
We are trying to get hold of some of the detainees who will speak to us on a loud speaker, again this may cause distress to some and could contain triggering language or testimonies.
We will leave Morton Hall between 3-4pm
Contacts for safeguarding:
Natasha from Sheffield STAR 07964988592 email@example.com (add safeguarding as the subject)
Rosie from These Walls Must Fall 07899045376 firstname.lastname@example.org