A group of activists called StopThePlane blocked a bus carrying detainees
Dozens of people were removed from a deportation flight to Jamaica – with a last-minute legal challenge saving one detainee who has lived in the UK since he was a child.
The charter plane left Birmingham Airport at 1am with just four detainees on board.
Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed 33 people were removed from the flight list due to ‘last-minute claims’, 13 of which were only made in the final 24 hours.
Just hours before, Duncan Lewis Public Law confirmed on Twitter that a judge had halted their client’s removal.
Concerns had been expressed about the fact that people who have been in the country since they were under 12 years old were on the Home Office’s list for deportation.
An anti-deportation group blocked the road in front of Brook House Immigration Removal Centre to try to prevent the last handful of detainees from being put on the plane, said to have the capacity for 350.
The activists, called Stop The Plane, locked their arms in metal pipes outside the centre near Gatwick airport just after 4.30pm.
West Sussex Police, who attended the scene, confirmed officers arrested five people for aggravated trespass on the perimeter.
Activists locked their arms in metal pipes outside the centre near Gatwick Airport
West Sussex Police who attended the scene confirmed officers arrested five people for aggravated trespass on the perimeter
Bishop Desmond Jaddoo told Metro.co.uk he spoke to a man who was being put on the flight, saying ‘it was like consoling a condemned man who was going to the gallows’.
The campaigner for equality and social justice added: ‘It was chilling, it felt like he wanted to speak to a priest before they hanged him.
‘He said he thought there were no more than five people about to board the plane.
‘I was speaking with him as they were putting them on the plane just before 1am.
‘This is yet again another blot on Birmingham’s card, in a city that is supposed to be hosting the Commonwealth Games.
‘All 10 Birmingham MPs are apparently silent to this, the African-Caribbean community in this city suffers so much disproportionality and has no proper reflective governance.
‘As a result of that, our community is at the bottom of the pile every single time.’
Metro.co.uk reported yesterday on claims at least 10 detainees were taken off the deportation flight after Covid-19 ripped through their immigration removal centre – an incident described as ‘an inevitable outbreak’.
Three people with no criminal convictions were also told they will not be expelled to Jamaica, Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy confirmed in a tweet on Friday.
Since the MFJ, led by national organiser Karen Doyle, began raising awareness of the Government’s plans, the Home Office has continuously refused to confirm any details on individual cases.
However, in a statement to Metro.co.uk, Priti Patel said today: ‘I make no apology for removing foreign national offenders who have committed crimes which will have had a devastating impact on their victims.
‘The people removed to Jamaica today are convicted criminals who have been found guilty of a range of serious offences. They have no place in our society.’
Ms Doyle had initially estimated the Home Office planned to expel 50 nationals – many of which she described as ‘thoroughly British’, with an ‘extensive family’ in the UK.
Last week, during a protest outside the Jamaican High Commission to draw attention to the plans, she claimed the flight ‘signifies everything bad that this Government is doing to black and Asian immigrant communities in an effort to divert attention from looming economic and climate catastrophes’.
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