- Created: Wednesday, 16 September 2009 14:57
- Written by Cat Alison
On 24 April, armed police and immigration officials broke down the doors of a number of shops owned by Latin American migrants, predominantly from Ecuador, in Elephant and Castle, south London, in a city-wide trawl for so-called ‘illegal workers’. Children who were off school because of the teachers’ strike that day saw their parents pushed up against the wall, intimidated and treated as criminals. Jimena Espinoza, wife of Ecuadorian community activist Paul Fierro, was taken into custody along with their young son and kept in a prison cell for two days. Espinoza was put under huge pressure to call her husband, who gave himself up. The family, whose asylum application had been rejected, were taken to a detention centre in Dover.
Paul Fierro was an activist with the Ecuadorian Movement in the UK who had worked tirelessly on campaigns such as Documentation for All Workers and on community radio Radio Vision and Centinela de Sur. Despite well-organised protests by the Ecuadorian community, with banners declaring ‘No one is illegal’, ‘Human rights for all migrants’, ‘We are not criminals; we just want to work’, he and his family were deported to Ecuador on 14 May. The crackdown on undocumented workers follows new legislation introduced in February and these brutal raids can be expected to continue. The campaign will continue to protest at the savage attacks on their community, and to fight for equal treatment for all workers.
FRFI 203 June / July 2008