Hunger strike at detention centre

Tuesday 09 February 2010 01:00 GMT

Yarl's Wood, the Bedfordshire detention centre blighted by controversy since its opening in 2001, was in chaos yesterday after police were called to a disturbance involving around 50 women detainees on their fourth day of a hunger strike.

The group were protesting against the treatment of foreign nationals at the detention centre. According to sources, 26 women entered a secure corridor where they stayed for much of the afternoon. Two detainees fainted and a window was said to have been smashed.

Eighteen detainees then climbed through the broken window and found themselves locked outside the building. By 1.30pm, the centre, which houses 405 women and children, went into lock-down, leaving women in communal spaces without access to food, water or toilet facilities.

Campaigners criticised the response of the authorities at the centre, accusing them of "kettling". David Wood of the UK Borders Agency, said: "All detainees are treated with dignity and respect with access to legal advice and healthcare facilities."

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