Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 22nd April 2011 | Issue 768

Back to the Full Issue


A hunger strike by 6 Iranian asylum seekers, five of whom have sewn their mouths shut, is currently in progress in London. Three are camping outside Amnesty International's offices in Clerkenwell, and three are at the Home Office in Croydon. The action mirrors a similar hunger strike in Greece last October, where seven Iranian men and women sewed their mouths closed in a demonstration of defiance against the Greek authorities' lack of recognition of Iranian asylum seekers.

The protesters in London are members of Green Wave Voice, an organisation protesting against the results of the Iranian presidential election in 2009, and haven't eaten since 5th April. Two of the men were taken to hospital by the police but refused to let doctors remove the stitches. All 6 have recently had their asylum applications turned down and instructed to leave the UK immediately, despite overwhelming evidence that they would be almost certain to be imprisoned, and even executed, if forced to return to Iran.

In Australia, asylum seekers at Villawood detention centre in Sydney overthrew guards on Wednesday (20th) and set fire to nine of the complex's buildings. What started with two detainees in a rooftop protest quickly spread to a riot of over 100 inmates, and as SchNEWS goes to press, seven remain on the roof as security forces scramble to regain control. An oxygen cylinder exploded late on Wednesday night, destroying a kitchen, laundry, medical facility and a computer centre. Fire fighters were unable to gain entry for some time as protesters threw roof tiles and furniture, and much of the centre lies in ruins.

Australia has recently been struggling to cope with an increased number of refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iran, and overcrowding in detention centres has become a serious issue. Villawood is run by Serco, who are the main contractors for Australia's detention centres as well as infamous UK institutions Yarl's Wood and Colnbrook. Serco have acknowledged the increased number of arrivals and longer periods of detention have placed significant pressures on their operations. After a string of riots and fires at Australian detention centres, many are now calling for their contract with the Australian government to be scrapped.


Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.

SchNEWS Issue Archive

All articles published by SchNEWS in its weekly newsheets 1994-2014.
See SchNEWS Issue Archive