- Created: Thursday, 18 November 2010 10:35
- Written by London FRFI
‘What do we want? – Justice! Justice for who? Jimmy Mubenga!’ ‘No borders! No nations! No deportations!’ Central London echoed to the chants of 200 protesters on Friday, as FRFI joined a demonstration that marched from the Angolan Embassy, along Oxford Street and down Park Lane, bringing traffic to a halt, before converging on the Home Office. The FRFI banner read: ‘No deportations! Fight Britain’s racist immigration laws’.
The march was led by the wife and children of Jimmy Mubenga, the Angolan deportee who died on 12 October on a British Airways flight while being removed from Britain. Passengers witnessed him being forcibly restrained by three security guards employed by G4S, the private security contractor to the UK Borders Agency. , while he shouted "They are going to kill me" and that he could not breathe. He is thought to have died from asphyxiation.
Jimmy Mubenga had lived in Britain with his wife and four children for 16 years, working as a forklift truck driver, but had spent the last two years in a detention centre, after being involved in a fight in a night club. He had been forced to flee Angola in 1994 fearing persecution for his radical student activities, following the killing of his father-in-law.
On the march was Ayo Omotade, who in 2008 was thrown off a BA flight to Nigeria after protesting about the treatment of another detainee who was being brutally restrained by G4S guards, and was screaming “I go die”. As he told demonstrators, he was then charged with affray and banned from all BA flights; police confiscated his money, as ‘criminal proceeds’ and dumped him, penniless, at Heathrow airport. It has taken Mr Omotade 14 months to clear his name.
The family and organisers, the Union of Angolans in England, were supported by anti-racist, anti-deportation and human rights groups, including FRFI, No Borders and the campaign to close Campsfield detention centre; the rally outside the Home Office was addressed, amongst others, by a member of the Mubenga family, Deborah Coles of Inquest and Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn. A letter presented to the Angolan Embassy asked for support in demanding answers about Mr Mubenga’s death from the British government. At the Home Office, the family laid a wreath and asked the Home Secretary to reconsider the use of force during deportations.
Since 1991, there have been 14 deaths during forced deportations from Europe. The official cause of death in most cases was positional asphyxia or cardiac arrest.