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Protesters back hunger striking detainees at notorious deportation center (PHOTOS)

Protesters back hunger striking detainees at notorious deportation center (PHOTOS)
Hundreds of protesters surrounded the Yarl’s Wood detention center in Bedfordshire, England to demand its closure, as women inside endure hunger strikes against mass deportations.

The Movement for Justice group organized Saturday’s demonstration in support of women protesting inside the gates, and to call for an end to deportation flights and the closure of the site. The protests outside the facility are being led by former center detainees.

This week saw up to 50 women inside one of the UK’s most notorious immigration removal centres (IRCs) for women and families demonstrate against a mass deportation flight scheduled for Thursday to send detainees back to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Many of the women began a hunger strike, refusing to eat from the canteen.

Yarl’s Wood has experienced years of controversy, with hunger strikes a common occurrence as detainees protest poor treatment and insufficient healthcare. A number of sexual harassment and racist allegations have been made against staff.

“Tear down the fences, open the borders!” protesters shouted, as some women inside hung homemade banners out the windows reading “End charter flights,” and “Amnesty, freedom.”

READ MORE: EU migration to UK slumps to six-year low, as Brexit effect begins to bite

There are about 400 women currently detained in Yarl’s Wood, which has been open for 17 years and is managed by private security company Serco.

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