South Yorkshire protestors demand closure of Morton Hall immigration detention centre

A protest coordinated by an asylum action group from South Yorkshire took place in Lincoln on Saturday.

South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG), took a coach of demonstrators from Sheffield to Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, where they were joined by other action groups from cities including Nottingham and Leeds.

There were approximately 70 protesters calling for the closure of the centre which has seen the deaths of two detainees over a six-week period.

Demonstrators kicking the detention centre fence

During the demonstration, a detainee scaled the wall. Gripping on to barbed wire to balance himself, he shouted to the protesters below about the conditions he and others within the centre face.

Demonstrators shouted a mobile phone number to him and he was able to then access a phone which was passed around to fellow detainees. Over the phone the demonstrators heard how the detainees were made to listen to music during the protest, and that this, they felt was a ploy to stop them from hearing the shouts of the protesters outside.

Protesters hear of the conditions within Morton Hall over the PA system

Tim Jones, an organiser from Sheffield Mental Health Action said:

“There is no need whatsoever to incarcerate these people. If you’ve faced persecution, religious or political, you’re going to be mentally scarred. There is a high suicide rate within these establishments.”

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, thoughts turn to what the future may hold for immigrants and those wishing to claim asylum in the UK.

SYMAAG coordinator John Grayson, from Barnsley, made it clear that he thought Theresa May was one of the worst politicians, in thinking that detention would act as a deterrent for anyone coming to claim asylum.

Mr Grayson said that Ms May ought to act to end the suffering of detained migrants now. He continuted: “She could shut them down tomorrow, she could have shut them down as home secretary, but she’s always refused to do that.”