Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘No Rwanda’ protest staged at immigration removal centre

Demonstrators at a removal centre at Gatwick protest against plans to send migrants to Rwanda (Victoria Jones/PA)
Demonstrators at a removal centre at Gatwick protest against plans to send migrants to Rwanda (Victoria Jones/PA)

Protesters chanted “no Rwanda” as they rallied outside an immigration removal centre in opposition to Government plans to start sending migrants to the east African country from next week.

Demonstrators shook the outer fence of an immigration removal centre on Sunday in protest at the Government’s Rwanda policy — and people inside the facility appeared to be shouting back.

Scores of activists marched to the Brook House Immigration Removal Centre, close to Gatwick Airport, near Crawley, West Sussex.

Migrant Crisis
Demonstrators condemned the Government’s plans (Victoria Jones/PA)

Dozens of activists shouted “we are with you”, “set them free” and “deportations no more… Britain is a racist state”.

Some activists banged the outer fence of the immigration centre and people inside the compound sounded like they were chanting back.

In unison with protesters, people inside appeared to chant: “No Rwanda.”

The plans would see some people who have entered the UK illegally flown to Rwanda to seek asylum there.

A High Court ruling means the first flight to the east African country could proceed on Tuesday but campaigners are due to challenge this in the Court of Appeal on Monday.

At the protest, teacher Jane Fisher, of Croydon, south London, who volunteers with Care for Calais, which delivers emergency aid to refugees, told the PA news agency: “There is a young boy called Sami and he was from Afghanistan, his parents and his sister were blown up in a car bomb and he is 17 and he has come across.

“He is really frightened he is going to be sent to Rwanda.

“He keeps asking about it because the refuges don’t know what is happening.

“I meet some amazing people and all of them have got horrible stories.”

Abbas Artan, 24, an asylum seeker originally from Somalia who crossed from Calais to the UK in a small boat in October, says he has been living in limbo at the Radisson Red hotel near Gatwick Airport for the past eight months.

Migrant Crisis
People protested outside the gates of the immigration removal centre (Victoria Jones/PA)

On the Rwanda policy, he told PA: “The Government must stop this because the people suffer a lot.

“Someone comes here to change his life, to send them back to Rwanda when there is nothing there… some people have said ‘I will kill myself if I’m sent there’.”

He said he fled Somalia because the militant jihadist group Al-Shabaab tried to recruit him as a soldier and knocked out his teeth with the butt of a gun when he refused.

His journey to the UK saw him cross from Somalia to Ethiopia, then Sudan, Libya, Italy, Sweden, Germany and France, before crossing the Channel.

Christian Hogsberg, 42, a history lecturer at the University of Brighton, told PA he was at the protest against the Government’s Rwanda policy to “show solidarity with refugees who are facing the danger of deportation to authoritarian regime Rwanda at the hands of a Tory Government that is playing the race card in the most shameful manner”.

He accused ministers of trying to get Britons “to blame people who are some of the poorest and most powerless people in the world rather than those who are really responsible for the cost-of-living crisis in our country”.

Up to 130 people have been told they could be deported, and on Friday the High Court in London heard that 31 people were due on the first flight, with the Home Office planning that more planes will go later this year.

The first claim against the policy was brought by lawyers on behalf of some asylum seekers alongside the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), as well as groups Care4Calais and Detention Action, which are challenging the policy on behalf of everyone affected.

The Prince of Wales is reportedly “more than disappointed” by the Rwanda policy, allegedly privately calling it “appalling”, according to reports in The Times and The Daily Mail.

Clarence House has insisted the Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales has reportedly made private comments criticising the policy (Hugh Hastings/PA)

On Sunday, Rwanda’s lead negotiator for the deportation agreement with the UK said the country is ready to accept people in “tens of thousands” but will start on a gradual basis.

Doris Uwicyeza, chief technical adviser to the Rwandan Ministry of Justice, also defended Rwanda’s human rights record and said it was not illegal to be homosexual.

She told Tom Swarbrick on LBC: “Actually, based on our history we understand the importance of protecting anybody from hate speech and discrimination, this is not tolerated in our society, the freedom from discrimination due to sexual orientation of a person is guaranteed in our constitution and the rule of law is there to enforce that.”