Police arrest 11 after protest against forced deportations

  • @SophieWarnes

Police arrested eleven people following a protest against forced deportations at Europe's largest deportation centre, near Heathrow.

Around 30 activists gathered outside Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre and some locked their arms inside concrete blocks in a bid to prevent the removal of "up to 50" people to Ghana.

Members of the group No Borders, which campaigns for free migration, claimed that some of those scheduled to be deported were removed from the flight. The UK Border Agency confirmed on Wednesday that 22 people were removed. They included two convicted criminals, 12 immigration offenders, and eight failed asylum seekers.

Scotland Yard said the protest began at around 6pm Tuesday, and ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning and caused the chartered flight to be delayed.

Joe Taylor, who took part in the protest, said: "We were standing there surrounded by cops as the news that a number of the deportees were taken off the flight arrived. The deportation was cancelled as a result of last minute legal representation. If we weren't there, these people would have been deported in a complete disregard of their human rights. The heavy-handed policing was only there to facilitate this cynical operation."

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "When someone has been found not to have the right to be in the UK we would prefer they left voluntarily. Where they do not we will seek to enforce their removal."