In 2016 some 35 mass deportation charter flights departed the United Kingdom, forcibly removing people from their homes and lives in Britain to countries including Pakistan, Albania, Nigeria and Ghana.
According to reports by UK media outlets, about 14 activists took to the tarmac at one of London’s busiest airports. The campaigners locked on to each other and formed a pyramid structure using tubes and chains.
They are reporting to leave the runway until a flight carrying supposed deportees is cancelled.
The charter flight was due to fly asylum seekers and migrants to Nigeria and Ghana, but many on board argue their lives will be in danger should their return go ahead.
The HUCK Magazine reports that “deportation flights like this are nothing new; in 2016 some 35 mass deportation charter flights departed the United Kingdom, forcibly removing people from their homes and lives in Britain to countries including Pakistan, Albania, Nigeria and Ghana.”
“Both of my parents are in the UK, they are British,” wrote one of the deportees on a blog, Detained Voices. “I have been here, with them, for over 5 years. But the Home Office wants to send me back to Nigeria.” The 21-year-old asylum seeker has his brother and grandfather killed in Nigeria.
“The Home Office say I cannot stay here with my parents anymore. My brothers are here. I am in fear to go back to Nigeria, there is fighting over land. They killed my brother. They killed my grandfather.”
Another person on the said flight is a Ghanaian man who has stayed in the UK for 18 years.
He says he’ll commit suicide if taken to Ghana. “What do they expect me to do? They are trying to deport me when I don’t have one penny in my pocket,” he explained. “How can I leave me wife in this country? How can I leave my brother and his children in this country? My family and my life is here in the UK. If they take me back to Ghana I will kill myself.”
A woman with British parents is also on the flight, she has no family in Nigeria and says that a doctor has declared her unfit to fly.
While it’s unclear exactly how many people have been forced onto this particular flight, it’s not unusual for up to 100 people to be deported on any one flight.
Mass deportation flights are just one aspect of the cruel British immigration detention and removal system: the United Kingdom is the only nation in Europe in which migrants can be detained indefinitely.