Demonstrations have been held in Sheffield and across the UK in support of 15 human rights activists who were convicted last week on terror offences after preventing a deportation plane from leaving Stansted airport. The Sheffield protests were held outside the Home Office building at Millsands and also marked International Migrants Day which is observed on 18 December by the United Nations. The Stansted 15 activists locked themselves around a Boeing 767 chartered to return undocumented migrants to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone and held a banner proclaiming “mass deportations kill”. Sheffield Live! reporter Azz Mohammed spoke to Michael Collins of the Right To Remain campaign.
Dozens staged a protest on Monday outside the Home Office South Yorkshire immigration centre at Vulcan House over the deportation of Zimbabwean asylum seekers. Protestors claim that representatives of the Zimbabwean government were invited to be involved in questioning asylum seekers in the UK as part of a plan to return 2500 failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Routine re-documentation interviews take place regularly at Home Office sites across the UK”. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Civil servants mounted a protest outside Home Office buildings in Sheffield over a pay claim in support of security guards. The Public and Commercial Services Union are balloting members over possible strike action. Azz Mohammed reports for Sheffield Live!
An Iraqi student in Sheffield has spoken of the distress he faced whilst he was detained by the Home Office at Morton Hall detention centre. Ahmed Sedeeq, an atheist who came to the UK in 2011, told Sheffield Live! “detention is not a picnic” and living an uncertain life is distressing. Ahmed was detained and threatened with deportation by UK border officers on 18 December 2017 but released a week later after more than 11,000 signed a petition asking the Home Office and The University of Sheffield to let him continue his studies.
More than 11,000 people signed a petition calling on the Home Office and the University of Sheffield to allow a PhD student to continue his studies. Ahmed Sedeeq was detained and threatened with deportation by UK border officers on 18 December 2017 but has since been released by the Home Office. Sanaz Raji, of Unis Resist Border Control, accused The University of Sheffield of “colluding with the Home Office” and doing little to support Ahmed following his detention. A University of Sheffield spokesperson told Sheffield Live! “Our student support staff have been in regular contact with both Ahmed and his solicitor since we were made aware of the case some weeks ago, including liaising with his legal advisers over the Christmas period. We have now received confirmation in regards to Ahmed’s immigration status which has enabled us to restore his university registration and continue to support him in resuming his studies at the University”. Baillor Jalloh reports for Sheffield Live!
Attempts to ban repeated marches by far right groups in Rotherham have been rejected by the Home Office. South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings sought a change in the law to ban marches on grounds of frequency, cost and community impact. Since 2012 sixteen protests have been held, the majority organized by far right groups such as the English Defence League and Britain First, with a combined policing cost of £4m. The Home Office said it had no current plans to change the law. The EDL are planning to march in Rotherham this weekend. Sheffield Live! reporter Simon Thake spoke to Dr Alan Billings.
Twelve months on from submitting a legal dossier to the Home Office, the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign have renewed their call for a full enquiry into the Battle of Orgreave. The campaign responded in December 2015 to a Home Office request for evidence concerning allegations of police brutality and wrongdoing against picketing miners at the Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984. The legal dossier included information relating to complaints of police fabrication of evidence, wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and perjury. One year on members of the campaign made their way to London to protest current Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the events or Orgreave. The Home Office has said that it will additional files on the 1984 miners’ strike in early 2017, including information relating to Orgreave. Simon Thake reports for SheffieldLive!