Week of Action: Day Six – Yarl’s Wood
Saturday 7th November was the final day of action as part of the week of action against the prison industrial complex.
At the start of the day, people disrupted the first recruitment drive for the North Wales Prison taking place at Glyndwr University. The day was organised to recruit prison officers, admin and health staff. Activists sneaked past registration, leafleted and stickered the bathrooms before returning to the main room of people. They took to the mega phone and used their voices to describe how prison destroys lives and how prisons are violent places to work, with screws having a shorter life expectancy that many other occupations.
While some arrogant, misogynistic men made sarcastic comments (they will make perfect prison officers – being able to bully and dominate people all day), a lot of people looked very concerned. They took leaflets and you could see a sense of anxiety in their eyes. We understand in our economic climate that people need jobs to survive. We made this clear that we have solidarity with working class people, but that working in a prison is a huge betrayal and that alternatives do exist. Caging people for economic development is completely unacceptable.
After getting kicked out, activists drove to Yarls Wood Immigration Detention Centre. En route we passed a local hunt packing up for the day. Only a small act of defiance, we screamed ‘hunt scum’ and ‘violent bastards’ from the van window. It reminded us how all of these struggles are connected, and we fight to end nonhuman prisons and oppression as much as we care about destroying human cages.
We arrived at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre and joined hundreds of others who are fighting against borders and immigration prisons. People marched around the site to the point where we could communicate and see its prisoners wave out the barred windows.
Speeches were made, with calls from women inside the centre ringing through and being connected up with a microphone. We heard their stories of abuse from staff inside and how they are fighting for freedom. Some activists managed to scale the fence to hang a massive banner, smoke bombs were let off and people sprayed up the fences. Hundreds of people took to the fence and kicked and banged and screamed so the detainees knew they were not alone.
Overall it was a moving end to the week. Relationships were made, lessons learned and strategies reflected on. Have no doubt, this is only the beginning and we will tear these walls down.