A show of solidarity took place outside Holloway Prison in protest at five hunger striking asylum seekers being moved there from Yarl's Wood immigration centre. Up to 30 women began their hunger strikes in February to oppose their detention. The hunger strikes are also a protest against the humiliation and racism that the women were enduring at Yarl's Wood, and the lack of sufficient legal representation.
The demonstration on Wednesday 1 March involved various organisations and individuals who are disgusted by the discrimination, isolation, alienation and maltreatment that these women have undergone.
During the protest a Serco van drove towards the prison, but had to drive away. Serco is one of the privateering contractors that the prison service employs. Last month the company reported an annual 34% increase in pre-tax profits to £194.7 million.
There have also been solidarity protests in Newcastle, during which a huge banner was dropped at a shopping centre. Other similar protests have taken place around Britain since the start of the women's hunger strike.
For socialists it is important that the rights of asylum seekers are defended when they are constantly vilified by the corporate-owned media. In reality these women, who have now been branded prisoners, are trying to escape torture and rape.
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