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Posted on 1 March 2012 at 17:26 GMT

SYMAAG rally in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing, 1.3.12, photo Alistair Tice

SYMAAG rally in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing, 1.3.12, photo Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Stop prison guards housing asylum seekers - stop G4S!

"I don't want a prison guard as my landlord" - Zimbabwean asylum seeker in Sheffield.

Around 70 asylum seekers and their supporters, organised by South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) rallied today in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing.

SYMAAG rally in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing, 1.3.12, photo by Alistair Tice

SYMAAG rally in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing, 1.3.12, photo by Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

Demonstrators protested outside the Town Hall (Sheffield is supposed to be a "City of Sanctuary") and then marched down to the UK Borders Agency HQ.

If ever a private company was "not fit for purpose", then G4S is that company!

G4S (Group 4 Security) is the world's largest private security army and the biggest private UK company with contracts worth 600 million for security, managing detention centres, prisons and 675 court and police station cells.

Now G4S hope to get another 135 million of our money - to privatise the housing of people seeking asylum, in "hostel accommodation".

G4S lost a previous contract for 'escorting' deported asylum seekers as a result of 773 complaints of abuse and the death of an asylum seeker.

From 1st March asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside are being expected to face them and their sub-contractors as their landlord.

SYMAAG rally in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing, 1.3.12, photo by Alistair Tice

SYMAAG rally in Sheffield against G4S taking over asylum seeker housing, 1.3.12, photo by Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

The new contracts will mean the privatisation of the whole of asylum seeker housing. In South Yorkshire it will mean over 500 asylum seekers and families dispersed to private landlords or hostels, often miles away from children's friends, schools and family doctors.

Fat cats and politicians will benefit from the misery inflicted on traumatised families. G4S chief executive Nick Buckles gets an annual salary and shares worth 2.4 million with a 7 million pension pot.

Former Labour Home Secretary, now Lord (John) Reid, is a director at G4S, put on the payroll at 50,000 in 2008!

For more info, look on www.symaag.org.uk

Alistair Tice, Yorkshire Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 1 March 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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