CAMPSFIELD REVOLT! – after ‘violent removal’ of Algerian detainee

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‘This will probably happen in other detention centres, the only time people listen is when there is a revolt,’ Bill MacKeith of Close Campsfield Campaign told News Line yesterday.

He was speaking after serious disturbances and a subsequent fire at the privately-run immigration removal centre left at least two inmates injured.

Seven staff were also injured.

MacKeith said: ‘My information is that at 6.30am guards went to arrest one or more detainees, most likely Algerians.

‘Other detainees witnessed the violent removal and began to protest.’

Emergency services were called to deal with the incident at the detention centre near Kidlington, in Oxfordshire.

Coachloads of Prison Service riot police joined 35 uniformed officers called in to deal with the incident.

Police said nine injured people suffering from smoke inhalation were taken to hospital.

One detainee confirmed: ‘they used force to drag the person from the bed and after that everything kicked off’.

MacKeith told News Line: ‘This is supposed to be a “fast-track” removal centre.

‘There are people who have been there for months, as well as people whose asylum claims are being considered who should not be detained.

‘There are people who have been criminalised for working illegally, and because they don’t have the right papers.

‘Having served two years for false documentation they are put in Campsfield – it’s a double punishment.

‘Disturbances like the one today are inevitable until unjust detention ends.

‘It looks as though this morning’s removal was carried out with violence, this is a continuing problem.

‘People are held for months and detainees have less access to legal aid – all these things combine to make people frustrated.’

A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed yesterday morning that a continuing incident began at 0630GMT.

The spokeswoman added: ‘Police, fire and ambulance teams are on the scene and a number of Tornado units from the Prison Service have been deployed to the centre.’

She said: ‘The perimeter of Campsfield has not been breached and all detainees have been accounted for.’

In a statement, Thames Valley Police said: ‘The detainees were evacuated and nine people have been taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. No serious injuries have been reported.

‘The fire has now been extinguished. Five fire engines and 30 firefighters attended the incident.

‘The fire was relatively small and mainly generated a lot of smoke.’

A helicopter hovered overhead throughout the morning and police dog units and mounted police were called in to patrol the perimeter of the centre.

Campsfield can hold 196 adult male detainees, but it is not known how many are currently being held there.