Yarl's Wood Demonstration: the Struggle for Freedom

By Amelia A J Foy

On the 3rd of December, Movement for Justice (By Any Means Necessary) led another demonstration outside Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre in Bedfordshire, England. Protesters came from across the country: London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol to name just a few. Around 1,000 people gathered in total, brandishing banners, megaphones, drums, balloons and coloured smoke bombs and assembled inside the interior fence, facing the Dove unit of Yarl’s Wood.

I was one of those in attendance. You see the women detained there (despite the reflective coating painted on their windows) and they see you, wave and yell and chant with you, making everything all the more impactful. While at the demonstration, Movement for Justice phoned a few women inside and broadcasted the calls to all of us. Ex-detainees were on the ground protesting with us and speaking about their experiences on the coach rides there. It’s a unique and empowering experience.

I compiled a video to capture this, featuring the stories of detainees inside Yarl’s Wood and the developments since the last demonstration, such as an outbreak of Tuberculosis in the centre.
Some useful key terms for the video include:
  • Dove/Avocet - these are units which the women stay in at Yarl’s Wood.
  • Home Office - the section of the British government that tackles immigration controls such as detention centres.
  • Serco - the private company who run Yarl’s Wood.

Together, we can #ShutDownYarlsWood for good and set these women and families free. You can donate to Movement for Justice here and like their page to stay updated about future rallies and protests. To contact Yarl’s Wood’s management (Serco), you can phone them on 01234 821 000. To contact the women inside, you can fax them at 01234 821096.